Skip to main content

For the full experience please download a modern browser. Click here to find a modern browser or discuss with your IT department.

Action for Wellbeing: The theory & practice of promoting mental wellbeing - Auckland

“The Government believes that wellbeing belongs at the heart of policy making”

The government’s strong focus on wellbeing has created a greater awareness of the fundamental role that wellbeing plays in enabling individuals and communities to thrive. Well individuals contribute to well whānau, schools and workplaces, communities, economies and society.

Evaluations of numerous national and local wellbeing initiatives consistently identifies that the successful implementation of any wellbeing initiative and for the initiative to have a long term and sustainable impact requires local leadership and a skilled workforce that is knowledgeable of and competent in the application of mental wellbeing theory and principles.

The workshop focuses on building organisational and community capability to implement successful mental wellbeing initiatives using workplace wellbeing as the case study for the two days. The workshop will critique many of the approaches currently being used and argue that these may not achieve long term sustainable impact nor achieve an optimal return for the investment workplaces are putting into workplace wellbeing programmes.

"Tangata aka ana I te kāenga, te tūranga ki te marae, tau ana.”​ - “A person nurtured in the community contributes strongly to society"

Informed by social, cultural and environmental determinants, adopting a wellbeingframework enable agencies such as local government, social services, schools, churches and workplaces to identify how they can be "agents of wellbeing" and so incorporate wellbeing outcomes into their work.

It will be argued in the workshop that many "wellbeing" programmes on offer are lacking in evidence-based wellbeing theory and principles, are more remedial than transformational, focus too much on individual behaviour change rather than applying a population health lens, and fail to address the role and impact of factors such as organisation culture, systems have on wellbeing. These failures often results in programmes that have limited impact and the achievement of long term wellbeing outcomes and may in fact contribute to increased disparities in wellbeing equity.

The workshop is ideal training for anyone wishing to:

  • increase or update their understanding of mental wellbeing promotion
  • design or implement a mental wellbeing campaign or initiative
  • apply a mental wellbeing approach to working with clients, a programme or to a service
  • develop or is leading a workplace mental wellbeing programme


POST WORKSHOP CONSULTATION: The registration includes a 90 minute post-workshop consultation via Zoom. An opportunity to receive feedback on the development of your wellbeing plan or programme

This workshop provides a comprehensive overview of the theory and the practice of promoting mental wellbeing in communities and different settings, e.g workplaces. Using the latest research and evidence of efficacy, a major emphasis of the workshop is on participants exploring the practical application of wellbeing theory and principles to their work context as well as being able to critique and assess the efficacy of different approaches to promoting mental wellbeing.

Drawing on over thirty years of working in mental wellbeing, learnings from designing, implementing and evaluating mental wellbeing programmes including the pitfalls and solutions to common problems that arise will be shared. Participants will have the opportunity to identify a set of wellbeing outcomes and apply them to a wellbeing programme logic.

A proven model of collaborative partnerships using the principles of collective impact and transformational change which has been applied in numerous settings and populations will also be examined.

The training does not offer a ready made mental health package approach but rather helps participants to:

  • understand the underlying theory, principles and best practice in promoting mental wellbeing
  • undertake a Mental Wellbeing Impact Assessment
  • develop appropriate mental wellbeing outcomes for the target audiences
  • critically assess appropriateness and applicability of mental wellbeing programmes or approaches for target audiences
  • develop a programme logic to guide the planning, implementation and evaluation of the programme
  • apply a risk assessment process to the programme activities or overall programme impact

Workshop Programme

Day 1:

Theoretical foundations of mental wellbeing

Different outcomes for different purposes – the difference between welfare, wellness and wellbeing approaches

Not the same thing - the difference between a mental illness and a mental wellbeing approach

Social and cultural determinants of wellbeing

Ecological model of wellbeing - the role of place and environment

The 'new normal" - the role of coping, adjusting and adapting in mental wellbeing

The emerging social pandemic – loneliness and social isolation

The Wheel of Wellbeing (WOW) model

Day 2:

Co-design of wellbeing initiatives

Mental wellbeing indicators and outcomes - developing a programme logic

Mental wellbeing programme design, implementation and evaluation

Overview of Mental Wellbeing Impact Assessment Tool

Collaborative partnerships for wellbeing - whole of setting or community approach


Feedback from previous participants

“Barry’s ability to translate research findings into everyday language means I have a much clearer understanding of the principles of wellbeing and how to apply it to my work” Community Worker

“Barry’s understanding of various cultural models of wellbeing meant I felt included and my culture respected” Pacific Island Community Leader

“I now have a better understanding of the role of local government in promoting wellbeing and useful strategies on how to apply mental wellbeing outcomes to our Community Plan” Council Policy Officer

“A holistic approach to wellbeing which included the spiritual dimension” Church Minister

“So glad I came. Going away with heaps of knowledge and know how to apply in our workplace wellbeing plan. Fantastic opportunity to learn from someone so experienced and knowledgeable"

Health, Safety and Wellbeing Manager

“Your passion for mental wellbeing made this a thoroughly stimulating workshop” Health Promoter

“Really appreciated the sociological analysis and your understanding of the impact of inequality, marginalisation and discrimination on people’s wellbeing” Social Justice Advocate

“Most helpful workshop I have attended in a very long time” Wellbeing Programme Facilitator


An opportunity for two days of learning with internationally respected & award winning mental wellbeing practitioner and suicidologist, Barry Taylor

Barry has proven leadership over 30 years at local, national and international levels in using community initiatives and strength-based approaches to improve individual and community wellbeing and the prevention of suicide. He has extensive experience in the development, implementation and evaluation of local and national programmes and is recognised for his work in creating collaborative partnerships to promote wellbeing.

Barry has lectured on wellbeing both nationally and internationally and been appointed to numerous government advisory committees on mental wellbeing. He brings to this workshop extensive experience in advising organisations, workplaces, schools, communities and governments on best to develop and implement resiliency mental wellbeing promotion initiatives and build wellbeing leadership through a workforce knowledgeable and skilled in promoting wellbeing.

As a Health Sociologist and Public Health practitioner, Barry has a long-term interest in the social and cultural determinants of wellbeing, especially the role of gender and he brings a wealth of knowledge and passion for promoting wellbeing in men. He has examined the impact of discrimination, internalised stigma, social exclusion or inclusion on mental wellbeing along with the role of human rights as an enabler of wellbeing. He embraces a holistic understanding of wellbeing and has an interest in the role spirituality and ecology contributes to a person's wellbeing.

Before returning to New Zealand his last project was the re-orienting of a local health district's mental health promotion program to a wellbeing framework, established the South Western Sydney Wellbeing Collaboration, and championed a multicultural adaption of The Five Ways to Wellbeing to meet the diverse cultural demographics of the health district. For this work he was awarded the NSW Mental Health Commissioner's Community Champion Award in recognition of his outstanding contribution to mental wellbeing and suicide prevention.

After a number of years overseas, Barry has returned to New Zealand committed and passionate to make a contribution to promoting wellbeing in this country.