Every year it seems we hit spring with a flurry of things to do with a sense of urgency. Sometimes it means we hit Christmas holidays feeling a bit frazzled. I am not sure how to avoid this – but I steel myself every year for this to happen. I am partly to blame as I get a head of steam about new ideas and things we should be doing more (or less) of.

Ideas kept brewing from the recent TheMHS conference where I got excited about 'compassion'. Dr Robin Youngson provided a keynote address on the importance of compassionate services and how we need to look after our workforce in order to bring compassion into our services. Dr Arthur Evans, at the same conference, talked about embracing population mental health approaches - breaking down the silos of services and creating community approaches to services, using art as a way for communities to communicate their needs.

We also had Dr David Hall visit from Quality Improvement Scotland to discuss the work that has been happening there to take a quality improvement approach to mental health and addiction services. This prompted us to have a workshop with David in partnership with Dr Janice Wilson at the Health Quality and Safety Commission. We have agreed to partner with the Commission to bring a stronger quality improvement focus to our collective work, to improve the experience for consumers and whānau using services. Using measures and quality improvement methodology we will support a programme for the mental health and addictions sector coupled with workforce development.

Whatever we do in this space needs to support co-design and collaboration – something we heard a lot about at Tahatu Rangi. Our youth observers, over two days, gave a very clear message that we need to design services with them. Collaboration needs to be deliberate and of mutual benefit, determined and principled.

So, what does all this mean? Our journey in services should be focused on doing the right thing at the right time for the betterment of consumers, whānau and community. We have many tools to enable us to do this, including quality improvement, collaboration and co-design methods. There are really no excuses to not engage positively in change!

The words of some of our youth at Tahatu Rangi summed it up well - act towards each other with acceptance and inclusion, be genuine, be patient, be committed.

I think these are some great reminders of how we should all be embracing collaboration and quality improvement. These are the things I have been reflecting on recently in the spring flurry. It can seem a bit daunting to get all of this done with a sense of urgency, but as Dr Janice Wilson reminds us, it's one spoonful of the elephant at a time...

I want to take this opportunity to say a heartfelt thank you for supporting our journey at Matua Raḵi and Te Pou during 2016. I look forward to working with you all in the coming year to achieve collaboration.

Nga mihi nui