What a wonderful year the Equally Well collaborative has had, forming many new partnerships, and making a significantly positive impact on the quality of people’s lives. In our final edition for 2017, we thought we'd remind you of just a few of our collective successes for 2017 as we look forward to continuing to maximise our impact in 2018. 
 
The Equally Well backbone team has been working behind the scenes with support from staff at Te Pou with research and evaluation expertise updating the 2014 Evidence Review with a plethora of new published research. The 2017 Evidence Review will be ready to read later this month.

The list of Equally Well champions is growing ever larger and together around 30 Equally Well presentations - that we know of - have been made at various symposiums, workshops and conferences in New Zealand and Australia. 
 
Congratulations to all of you for your hard work and dedication – you are making a difference! 

Equally Well goes global!

In July, Australia launched their Equally Well collaboration and currently have over 60 supporting organisations. Check out the Australian Equally Well website

Then in October, the Centre for Mental Health UK followed suit by launching the UK Equally Well collaboration

Matua Raki launches medication reduction guides - for prescribers AND consumers 

Matua Raki has launched two guides for reducing or stopping mental health medication – a guide for prescribers and a guide for consumers.  

For some people, reducing or stopping mental health medication can be difficult. The purpose of these guides is to give information that can help people come off medication. It does not deal with the decision to reduce or stop taking medication, which ideally should be made in conjunction with health care workers and key support people. 

Making physical health a priority 

Te Pou has been working on a 'mental health analysis' of the New Zealand Health survey. The survey collects data annually on a sample of more than 13,000 adults living in New Zealand and includes information on mental health and physical health status, health service utilisation, the experience of care and barriers to access. Keep an eye out for the findings of this work early in the New Year. 

The work is important not only for its findings, but because it shows how to analyse routinely collected data from a mental health equity perspective. 

Primary care initiative at Tairāwhiti DHB

Do you remember in July 2015, when Hauora Tairāwhiti working in partnership with primary, community and iwi providers, offered free and extended primary care visits to people with mental health conditions and addiction? Their initiative has had a rippling effect as to what is possible, with several other regions inspired to increase access to primary care. Read the story again here

RNZCGPs release policy brief

The Royal New Zealand College of General Practitioners has made significant steps by releasing a policy brief including practical suggestions for GPs this year. The College's Chief Executive Helen Morgan-Banda also did a keynote presentation on Equally Well at APIC1 – the Asia Pacific Conference on Integrated Care in Brisbane last month.

Metabolic screening initiative at Auckland DHB

Roles focusing on physical health continue to emerge.

Beth Jackson is a Physical Health Nurse Educator based at Auckland District Health Board’s (ADHB) acute mental health inpatient unit, Te Whetu Tawera. As members of the Equally Well collaborative, Beth, ADHB and their mental health team are fully committed to making a difference in people’s health outcomes, and a metabolic screening initiative has been planned for the mental health units at ADHB in 2018. The focus will be monitoring, management and referral. It will include assessing and modifying factors causing metabolic syndrome, and a standardised approach will be taken across their three inpatient mental health units.  

We are also seeing similar roles focusing on physical health emerging with Sue Wells of West Coast DHB and Linda Smith at Canterbury DHB both expanding their roles into this area. 

Emerge Aotearoa’s nationwide champions 

Emerge Aotearoa recruited regional champions to act as the Equally Well champion for a particular service site/location. They oversee and assist activities that support the health and wellbeing of both tangata whai ora and staff, to stay well and prevent life-limiting health conditions. Remind yourself of this great story.

Looking forward 

An oversight group with members from the Royal New Zealand College of General Practitioners, Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists, Wellbeing Wellington, the Pharmaceutical Society, Emerge Aotearoa, Ministry of Health, New Zealand College of Mental Health Nurses, Wise Group, Te Pou, Matua Raki and Platform came together with the plan to create a toolkit to assist with best practice wellbeing prescribing. As part of this toolkit, a short video has been produced and is being added to the suite of Equally Well supporting resources. 

Our challenge to you

The best way to maximise the impact of your efforts is through collaboration, we challenge you to reach out to other members of the collaborative and find ways to work together, utilising your combined resources and strengthening your capabilities. 

As always, we love hearing what’s happening in your world – please get in touch, so we can celebrate with you, tweet about it and feature your stories in future editions of the Equally Well e-news.

 

Ngā mihi

The Equally Well backbone team