Equally Well backbone team

The Equally Well backbone team provides overall direction, facilitates communication and action, including through Loomio and the e-news, works with champions to encourage and support activities, and shares stories of good practice from around the country. Backbone support is one of the most important factors for successful collaboration.

Meet the backbone team

Everyone in the backbone team has other roles and responsibilities within Te Pou, but each person brings important perspectives and skills to Equally Well.

  • Jo van Leeuwen, Te Pou programme lead. As well as supporting Equally Well in the sector, Jo oversees Equally Well within Te Pou’s own work programmes.
  • Helen Lockett, Wise Group strategic policy advisor. Helen is the strategic lead for Equally Well, building the profile with stakeholders, and finding opportunities to expand and strengthen activities in the sector.
  • Ashley Koning, Matua Raki project lead.  Ashley provides insight and guidance from an addiction perspective.
  • Caro Swanson, Te Pou service user lead. Caro provides a service user perspective and advises on strategic issues and direction. 
  • Wendy Donaldson, Te Pou researcher. Wendy coordinates the Equally Well Loomio group and distributes the quarterly e-news. 
  • Rachel Kapeli, Te Pou project co-ordinator. Rachel provides project management support to the team.

Te Pou’s role

Te Pou provides ongoing coordination and support through the backbone team, and hosts Equally Well resources and information on this website. Te Pou is also taking action for Equally Well in its own work.

Te Pou’s action statement

Te Pou supports Equally Well in recognition of the significant physical health disparities between people who experience mental health and addiction issues, and people who don’t. This disparity has been known about for many decades. It is unacceptable and needs to be addressed as a priority.

We believe New Zealand needs a skilled mental health and addiction workforce that is effective at supporting the mental health and physical health needs of service users. We will continue to support organisations to grow this capacity within their workforce. To achieve this, the principles of Equally Well underpin all of our work programmes.

As one of the first organisations to endorse the Equally Well consensus position paper, we are committed to taking action in our area of influence and working with others to strengthen our impact. As well this, we also support the Equally Well backbone team introduced on this page.