We are dedicated in our mahi in addressing the underlying conditions that impact our health and wellbeing, in order to reduce the risk of suicides in our rohe. The approach adopted by Healthy Families Whanganui, Rangitīkei, Ruapehu towards suicide prevention is a collective willingness to shift the dial. We know that a community-led response can bring a radical change towards our thinking, narrative and practices from welfare to wellbeing, from loss to love, from intervention to prevention.
In 2019 we began a journey to facilitate the co-design of a whole of community, whole of system approach to the regional suicide prevention strategy and action plan. We were supported by Te Oranganui, Whanganui District Health Board CEO and Board, our community champions and frontline professionals, our iwi, hapū and whānau, to better understand whānau lived realities, professional challenges and systemic issues. We were adamant to explore how we might grow community and system capability for change and whether we were prepared to transform our current capacity to impact change.
The insights and the hypotheses that emerged from our community engagements informed the co-design of Growing Collective Wellbeing Regional Suicide Prevention Strategy and traction plan. Once we knew the key insights we were able to start designing across the wellbeing spectrum and the continuum of support and network of support to influence multi-level and systemic change.
Some of the key insights from our communities were:
“Not knowing what to do and where to go at that time for my daughter. I was working in the health system and I didn’t know. How are others supposed to know?”
“Tried to get help when needed it for suicidal thoughts, but couldn’t when trying to ring the numbers so went to see GP. They offered medication, antidepressants and painkillers”
“We need to re-organise the mental health system by putting clients and whānau at the core of the re-design process, understand their journeys and map their path to recovery”
From this point, the Ministry of Health was looking to invest into mental health service delivery, Te Whatu Ora o Whanganui and the Community of Mental Health and Addictions services were impressed with Healthy Families ability to partner with community and whānau and thought that the methodology and mindset was pivotal in back boning any collaborative design.
The Collaborative Design of Mental Health and Addiction Service Delivery is an initiative that sits within the Growing Collective Wellbeing traction plan.
Barry Taylor, a Suicidologist has contributed significantly to our mahi as a critical expert, validating our thinking and offering input into areas of our mahi that we hadn’t considered.
Moving forward, we will be bringing him into the leadership space, so that he is able to strategically anchor regional leaders into our mahi. He will be pivotal in helping to anchor in the wider context of change and transformation, identify our champions and influencers, sense making and the opportunity to highlight a collective way forward, and bringing it back to the people we service. Barry recently shared a profound statement with us relating to the current mahi we are undertaking with Collaborative Design of Mental Health and Addiction Service Delivery,
“I’m so excited about this project because it’s all about transformational change... I am a firm believer that if we are going to get transformational change what we need to do is to ask transformational questions, to get transformational answers. So what needs to be different? We all know that working in silo's don’t work, so what does it mean when we can all come together in a person centred approach and say what do these people need, to make decisions so that they become well and can live and participate and contribute in our communities rather than trying to fix our silo's, let’s come on the journey. I think the time is now.”
Our value proposition is that we can amplify and accelerate our impact through stakeholders and community working together across the system. It will take a whole of community - whole of system approach to grow individual and collective wellbeing.
For more information reach out to Rebecca or Chy in the Waiora Whānau team, or let us know if you want a copy of our publications.