With the increase in mental health issues in New Zealand and the demand this places on our services, we need to work across primary care, DHB and NGO services to provide effective and efficient talking/psychological therapies that meet the full spectrum of a service user’s needs.

Rising to the Challenge requires services to introduce a planned stepped-care approach to meeting mental health and addiction needs across primary care, DHB and NGO services. The plan focuses on expanding access to evidence-informed psychological therapies in primary care. For the primary and specialist workforce, there is a focus on being able to identify and address mental health and addiction needs and deliver brief, effective, evidence-informed psychological therapies.

Where to next?

Te Pou is dedicated to strengthening talking therapies within New Zealand.

We’re developing a work programme and tools for primary and secondary services to increase access to quality talking therapies using a stepped-care delivery pathway. This will be implemented over the next two years with the focus on enabling:

  • equitable access to therapy
  • efficient therapy delivery using a stepped-care pathway
  • best practice through use of evidence based therapies
  • delivery by well-trained and supervised clinicians, to optimise workforce skill mix
  • achievement of effective outcomes through evaluation.

A stepped-care pathway for talking therapies will help to provide efficient access to self-help resources, guided self-help, e-therapy and brief evidence-informed psychological therapies for mild to moderate mental health and addiction issues within primary care. More intensive psychological therapy is delivered to people with more complex issues, usually in secondary services.

Keep an eye on the talking therapies page of our website for more information as the project progresses.

Meet Tina Earl, talking therapies project lead
I recently joined Te Pou to lead the talking therapies work. I'm a clinical psychologist, and in my work at Waitemata DHB I promoted the development of new directions for talking therapies. A survey of service users found they wanted better access to therapy and more choices. From 2008 I led work within Waitemata DHB to create better access to quality talking therapies, using a stepped care model. The pilot study saw increased access and positive change as a result of therapy, with no increase in staffing, and within current budget.

This success prompted the DHB roll-out to adult mental health services, as well as the piloting of an integrated primary/secondary talking therapies pathway. It created interest in other DHBs, where I supported the development of stepped care. This has now led to this wonderful opportunity at Te Pou to further this work at a national level in both primary and secondary mental health. Read about the successes at Waitemata DHB.

Talking across cultures
Te Pou has published guides to help therapists build rapport and maintain engagement with populations of people in New Zealand. Guides for supporting Maori, Asian people, Pasifika peoples, older adults and refugees, asylum seekers and new migrants are available on our website.

We look forward to partnering with you to progress these exciting new directions for talking therapies in New Zealand!

Nga mihi nui

Tina Earl
Clinical/project lead - psychological therapies, Te Pou