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Mental Health Act Guidelines resources and e-learning launched

Waiata MHA resource launch
Te Pou board member Dean Rangihuna leads a waiata during the launch.

New resources and a series of e-learning modules have been launched to support change in practice aligned with the Mental Health Act Guidelines.

The much-anticipated project was launched in Pōneke Wellington late last month where these were presented to mental health kaimahi, lived experience whānau and cultural and spiritual advisors in-person and virtually.

One of the speakers was Manatū Hauora Ministry of Health Director of Mental Health and Addiction John Crawshaw.

John said he was delighted to see the release which would be beneficial to tāngata whai ora, whānau and kaimahi in the sector.

“With their strong focus on voices of lived experience they will greatly benefit the services provided to people treated under the current Mental Health Act. I want to acknowledge the collective mahi that went into developing these resources and particularly acknowledge those with lived experience whose stories gave a richness to the resources."

John Crawshaw MHA resource launch
Manatū Hauora Ministry of Health Director of Mental Health and Addiction John Crawshaw addressed attendees.

As part of the development process, Te Pou worked with Take Notice Director Kerri Butler and Changem Director Gemma Griffin.

Kerri and Gemma helped to develop the e-learning and resources with support from many people across the sector who shared their stories and knowledge.

This brought in the voice from lived experience leaders whose skills and experience included knowledge and understanding of human rights, law, cultural aspects, and personal experience of the Mental Health Act.  

At the launch, the pair spoke on how lived experience was central to this work.

Their powerful kōrero re-iterated how the voices of the lived experience community add incredible value to improve processes, practices, and outcomes for whānau.

This means a change in how everyone involved works together and the approach that is taken.

“If it feels uncomfortable or unfamiliar territory at times working alongside of us or enabling us to guide and lead integral kaupapa, I encourage the sector to sit with the discomfort and see it as a positive sign that you’re in the perfect place to effect meaningful change and outcomes,” Kerri and Gemma said.

They said it was important to incorporate the lived experience voices by listening with intent to shape the content in a meaningful way.

“I see it as us reflecting a tuakana-teina way of being in everything we do whereby we learn from and guide one another in our areas of expertise fluidly moving between at times being in the tuakana role knowing intuitively this is the space we need to step forward to lead then at others having the humility to embrace the teina role and see the koha our peers have to share in guiding us with their leadership and sharing of their knowledge and expertise.”

Kerri Butler MHA resource launch
Take Notice Director Kerri Butler speaks about how the Lived Experience voice contributed to the development of the work.

Te Pou has worked with Manatū Hauora Ministry of Health since 2021 to support practice outlined in the Guidelines.

The overarching intent behind this work is about people supporting people during the toughest of times and centring it around relationships and values.

He Ara Oranga: Report of the Government inquiry into Mental Health and Addiction indicated a need for a more human rights approach, supported decision making, emphasis on recovery and wellbeing approach to mental health, and minimising the use of compulsory and coercive treatment. The suite of resources consists of two parts.

There is an e-learning series for the workforce, and two information booklets and an animated style video for people placed under the Act and their whānau.

Both guides provide information about the Act, who is involved in the process, what to expect, what your rights are and where to get advice or support.

The e-learning series will support the workforce in a number of ways which includes:

  • Strengthening workforce values and attitudes grounded in people-centred, human rights, least-restrictive, trauma informed, and equity approaches around the use of the Act, including upholding the obligations under Te Tiriti o Waitangi.
  • Building knowledge and understanding of the Act and personal rights among people and whānau.
  • Promoting greater nationally consistent approaches in the training of responsible clinicians, duly authorised officers (DAOs), and district inspectors (DIs) by working with the directors of area mental health services (DAMHS), DHB training coordinators, and general managers to implement a plan to address workforce needs.
  • Providing the mental health workforce with an up-to-date understanding of the Guidelines and good practice in the use of the Act through e-learning and other learning resources.

Access the e-learning here.

Download the resources here.

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