Handover | Issue 41 - December 2017

What a year 2017 has been! There has been a strong media focus on service delivery and suicide – indicating that mental health and addiction services are under more pressure than ever before. Mental health and addiction became one of the key issues of this year’s election. With a new government in place, we all wait to see what this will mean for services in the coming year.

Despite the bleak picture painted by media there is so much that has improved for people receiving services. Nurses have held key roles in believing in and advocating for people’s ability for recovery and wellbeing and the sorts of approaches that support this. Many of the stories and profiles in Handover give clear evidence of that. The people who work in services are one of the aspects that makes the biggest difference to someone who is facing the worst time of their lives. Thank you for all the amazing work you do in spite of the challenges faced.

How we perceive and talk about mental health and addiction problems and the people who experience them, is a key component of creating healing and wellbeing. The language insert in Handover this year was one of the articles we received the most interest in and feedback about.

Great leadership for mental health and addiction nurses is pivotal to ensuring this workforce is the best it can be, and I was delighted to hear that my awesome co-editor had been elected to the role of President of Te Ao Māramatanga. Like former president Anne Brebner, Suzette is a proud mental health nurse who believes in the power of effective nursing to change people's lives for the better. Suzette’s life experiences, passion for recovery and wellbeing, sense of social justice and dedication to nurses makes her ideal for this role. Congratulations Suzette! Congratulations also, to my co-lead in least restrictive practice work Lois Boyd, who was awarded a Fellowship to the college for her contribution to mental health nursing.

Lois and Suzette are among many mental health and addiction nurses I feel so lucky to know and work alongside. Their belief in all people’s ability and right to attain a life that has meaning, and in the need to work in equity with peer roles for most effective services, is unwavering and determined.

2018 looks like it will be another busy year with many, as yet, undetermined opportunities, I’m looking forward it. I hope you are too.

Wishing you blessings, clear skies, fun and well-deserved laughs.