To help support services in achieving the best possible outcomes for people our work draws together evidence to understand people’s needs and what’s required to achieve the outcomes people want. Te Pou takes an evidence-informed approach that incorporates the perspectives of people and whānau, the workforce, cultural perspectives, and research, in the range of work we’re involved in from workforce development to clinical practice. This helps ensure the work we promote and deliver is well informed about what works, robust, evidence-based and more likely to be effective. It helps provide good information to inform decisions, approaches taken, and in identifying opportunities for improvement.

Over the last 10 years I’ve had an opportunity to be involved in a range of projects and underpin this with a workforce planning and development approach. To assist services, a suite of tools aimed at supporting workforce planning, and making the most training and development investments have been developed.

Recognising the potential impact of trauma on people, their whānau and communities is an area which I’m passionate about.

Recognising the potential impact of trauma on people, their whānau and communities is an area which I’m passionate about. Last year a trauma informed care literature scan was undertaken to develop a better understanding the extent of trauma, it’s impact on people, and evidence-based approaches to support services responding to people with experiences of trauma in practice. Two concerns highlighted included consideration of the individual and collective trauma among Māori people, and worker wellbeing. The scan has helped inform a joint workforce centres’ submission to HWNZ of a set of recommendations to promote a New Zealand trauma-informed approach.

Enhancing people’s wellbeing is a key focus of our recent article in the New Zealand Medical Journal for people accessing community alcohol and other drug services. Where alcohol was the main substance of concern for people the analysis of Alcohol and Drug Outcome Measure (ADOM) data revealed even small reductions in alcohol consumption can have a positive effect on people’s wellbeing. This highlights the potential benefits of a harm reduction approach alongside other approaches and focusing on some key areas such as work to further enhance people’s wellbeing.

Te Pou’s role in Equally Well has helped increase awareness of the inequalities experienced by people with experience of mental health and addiction using the NZ Health Survey. Physical health outcomes are poorer and barriers to primary care service utilisation higher for people with mental health and addiction needs. Our most recent analysis highlights the importance of understanding the experiences of Māori people specifically and the utility of data in informing service delivery and expanding service access in response to He Ara Oranga: Report of the Government Inquiry into Mental Health and Addiction.

We were pleased He Ara Oranga recognised the workforce as a critical enabler to achieving the Inquiry’s vision and system transformation. To inform the Inquiry, a workforce stocktake was undertaken which highlighted a number of areas, including the need to invest in workforce wellbeing, ensuring access to learning and development opportunities, and need to grow the Māori, Pacific, support and peer workforces.