Helen has been working with Te Pou o te Whakaaro Nui (Te Pou) since 2013 to initiate and develop the Aotearoa New Zealand Equally Well collaborative. Helen works with the backbone team at Te Pou on a part-time basis alongside her job as a strategic policy advisor to the Wise Group. Helen has also recently been working as an advisor with the OECD to publish the Aotearoa New Zealand mental health and work report.
In working on the Equally Well evidence updates, the evidence for the relatively poor health outcomes for people who experience a mental health and addiction issue became very clear. Through Equally Well, Helen is committed to working with others, across multiple levels of the health and health-related systems, to find ways to improve outcomes.
Helen's interest and the focus of her work is on connecting research, policy, and practice and in particular to address the systemic barriers which create inequities.
Helen has been working in mental health and addiction services for 25 years. She started her career as a support worker in a small day service in England where she saw the positive impact getting a job had on people’s lives and learned how intensive and tailored support could be offered to enable people to fulfil their employment aspirations. Helen then became interested in service improvement, systems change and getting research into practice and specialised in understanding the evidence base for implementing effective employment support programmes.
In 2019 Helen completed her doctorate with the University of Auckland in improving evidence-based practices in employment support for people who experience mental health and addiction issues.