Nurses in primary care need to be equipped to respond effectively to people experiencing mental health issues. Auckland Metro DHBs and PHOs are working together to make sure all of their primary care nurses have the right skills and resources to do this well.  

A nurse-led training programme has been running for nurses in the Auckland area. The DHBs and PHOs have announced they will continue funding the programme for at least one more year.

The training is based on the Te Ao Maramatanga NZ College of Mental Health Nurses Mental Health and Addiction Credentialing Framework. The training helps nurses improve their confidence, knowledge and understanding, and reduce stigma and discrimination. 

An independent evaluation showed that nurses who completed the training were more confident, and used their new skills in their practice. 

During the four months of training, nurse-led assessment and screening for mental health issues increased by 45 per cent, and brief intervention and referrals by 100 per cent. There was a 60 per cent increase in nurses who reported ‘actively working to reduce stigma and discrimination’ at the two highest levels. The evaluation argues strongly for adopting and funding a regional training approach like this across the country, on an ongoing basis. 

Rachael Calverley who led this collaborative effort said, “It really was the sum of the parts – everyone’s best efforts. I couldn’t have done it without all those brilliant nurse leaders being involved”. 

Auckland nurses working in primary care can find out more about enrolling in the next course by contacting Rachael at rcalverley@comprehensivecare.co.nz.

This work was recently profiled in detail in Te Pou's Handover magaine. Read the full Handover article.