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Equitable access to wellbeing framework launch

Te Pou was proud to host the launch of the Whaikaha-sponsored Equitable Access to Wellbeing framework in Wellington on Wednesday 19 October.

This knowledge and skills framework for the mental health, addiction, and disability workforces aims to create better opportunities and outcomes for autistic people and people with learning disabilities who are experiencing mental distress.

Around 100 stakeholders attended the launch, many of whom had contributed to its development, including lived experience experts, whānau, target workforces from within the health and disability sectors, and sector leaders.

Participants enjoyed the launch event and appreciated participating in the range of informative, heartfelt, and hopeful sessions from a variety of speakers.

“This has been a fantastic use of time today. Thank you so much for supporting people with disabilities to have rewarding and fulfilling lives.”
“Really great to see such good co-design and active involvement of tāngata whaikaha.”

Following thanks from Rae Lamb, chief executive of Te Pou, Dr Brigit Mirfin-Veitch, Director of the Donald Beasley Institute spoke, drawing on her recent experience providing research into the care experiences of autistic people and individuals with learning disabilities for the Royal Commission on Abuse in Care.

Bridgit reinforced the need for the framework, noting that people with learning disability and autistic people have repeatedly called for access to the knowledge, resources, and support they need to ensure their wellbeing.

She called on leaders to ensure that professionals feel confident that the actions they are taking to ensure equitable access to wellbeing are understood and supported. Brigit also asked leaders to consider how that commitment can be shared between the mental health, addiction, and disability sectors to ensure there are no gaps in service.

We were then honoured to listen to Sir Robert Martin, one of New Zealand's leading disability rights activists who has promoted the self-advocacy movement internationally and was involved in the proceedings resulting in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

Sir Robert was clear, Article 25 of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities states that tāngata whaikaha have the right to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of health, without discrimination on the basis of disability. This means everyone should get good quality healthcare, including mental healthcare and treatment for addiction.

Rae Sir Robert and Brigit teaser image
Te Pou chief executive Rae Lamb stands with Sir Robert Martin and Dr Brigit Mirfin-Veitch, each holding a copy of the Equitable Access to Wellbeing framework.

The final presentation was a panel from ConneXu, a charitable trust that delivers broad disability support in the Waikato. They gave us a taste of how, using the principles of Enabling Good Lives, people who have been institutionalised can go on to live a meaningful life in the community. A member of the ConneXu community shared their story of regaining their life and independence after spending over a year in a residential mental health facility.

During their time in the facility, they felt traumatised, isolated, and misdiagnosed. Following extensive advocacy from their whānau, they were moved into the community, supported by ConneXu. They were anxious about leaving the institution, but the home was warm and welcoming. Since living in their new home with support they are feeling empowered. They cook now when they have never cooked before. They are also leading by delivering a sensory modulation course to others.

“I’m now living my life to the fullest.”

ConneXu leaders then reflected on the person’s experience and commented on the key factors that enabled them to support this person when others were not able to.

  1. Using the principles of Enabling Good Lives to drive all decisions. They ensure their community members are partners in all decision-making so decisions about their lives are made with them, not for them. They have also employed people with lived experience as leaders within the organisation.
  2. They are a values-driven organisation. The key values that helped in the story shared at the event were collaboration, partnership, and innovation.
  3. Have a team that is passionate, skilled, and agitators for change who challenge the status quo.

The person with lived experience responded that their new environment and the support from ConneXu has given them a voice.

“I have a voice, I am heard, and I feel empowered. When I was institutionalised in hospital, I felt as though I didn’t have a voice. I was scared. It is now lovely to have a voice, feel empowered and to be treated as an individual, as an adult and with mana and respect.”

To close the presentations, Manase Lua, kanorau, Pasifika and diversity manager at Te Pou, then challenged the event attendees to work together as partners to ensure that people with a learning disability and autistic people who experience mental distress are supported to live good lives.

The event was live-streamed for those who could not attend in person. Recordings of the presentations will be available in coming weeks.

The Equitable Access to Wellbeing framework is available as a PDF for use on a computer, in a Word document and as an Easy Read.

Find out more about the framework and download a copy here.

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