"Consumer organisations are beacons of best practice, credible, professional, strong and successful."
He Tipuana Nga Kakano Members
|Guy Baker - Consumer Leader, Tairãwhiti|
Ko Hikurangi te Maunga
Sectors Linkages and Networks:
I am 58yrs of age, the oldest of two children, who is married with 2 school aged daughters in Y7 and Y8. I was educated at Gisborne Boys High School before embarking on a career within the public service working in regional (Gisborne and Wellington) and head offices (Wellington) of the Department of Maori Affairs and the Department of Social Welfare. Returning home in 1990 I entered the hospitality industry and by 1999 when I left to pursue tertiary study I was Functions and Assistant Manager of a local hotel and function centre. I then acquired a position as manager of a chartered club before moving to the Gisborne District Council in the Liquor Licensing division. In 2009 I pursued further study towards my degree whilst still employed and in my third year of study was diagnosed with severe depression from which counsellors advised that I had been suffering from for a number of years and that it had probably been masked by alcohol. However, I completed the year gaining the honour of valedictorian by which time my journey to recovery had commenced.
I gained a passion towards the awareness of mental illness to lessen the stigma and discrimination that my family, friends and I had been subjected to. Participating in Council’s Employee Assistance Programme I became a peer support for work colleagues who were suffering some stressful times. I also availed myself to some speaking engagements at other work places, participated in Mental Health Awareness Week having my story published in the local newspaper and Like Minds Like Mine national newsletter, sharing my story on Turanga FM radio and wherever else I felt the message should be spread. It is therefore a natural progression that I now find myself actually working within the mental health sector and particularly with Maori who unfortunately have unbalanced statistics in this arena. I am committed to continue the role in promoting; recovery, social inclusion, human rights, self-advocacy and cultural responsiveness.
Skills that I Bring:
|Herewini Rangi - Youth Peer Support & Advocacy, Tairãwhiti|
|Sarah Gillington - Consumer Advisor, Taranaki|
G’day, I’m Sarah a 38yr old mum of 2 beautiful children and wife to an amazing kiwi man. Yes I’m an Aussie, but don’t hold that against me, I’m not too bad J!
I have a long Mental Health history that started with the sudden death of my father when I was 16. This changed my life course and everything that I had known and what my parents had worked so hard to achieve for us as children, they wanted us to have opportunities that they didn’t. My mother was given a diagnosis of bipolar disorder 6mths before my father passed away, after his death she sunk to a deep depression and was suicidal.
I quickly became unwell and was started on anti depressants to try and lift my mood, sleeping tablets to try and sleep, but I continued to worsen and become more suicidal with family members catching me out before I made attempts on my life. I was then referred to a psychiatrist and started on a mood stabiliser. Eventually things settled for me and I moved on with my life and finding employment.
I was lucky enough to gain a traineeship in Assistant Nursing, so for 12mths I studied and worked at an aged care facility which I absolutely loved. At around 17yrs of age I was sexually assaulted by a friend, had no support from my mother, family or friends to make a statement to police, this still plays on my mind and I hold a lot of anger towards my mother for not protecting me. After meeting my now husband a couple of years later, we moved out of my home town and went thousands of km’s away following work for my husband.
Around 16-17yrs ago we were living in New Plymouth, which was only supposed to be for a short time, but ended up being a much longer stay. I was admitted to the inpatient unit in Taranaki and taken off all my meds as my liver had pooped itself and wasn’t processing any meds, essentially I was told I was having a nervous breakdown. This was a long stay which included seclusion from voicing a plan to take my life. My mother was asked to come from Australia, as there were questions around family history etc. I was then given a diagnosis of Bipolar 2.
When things started coming right months later I was started back on old antidepressant medication, it wasn’t until I had an appointment with a psychiatrist through outpatients who listened to me and put me back on the meds I knew worked and was started on an antipsychotic as well. It turned out that they thought the contraceptive pill may have done the damage to my liver, but to this day, they are not really sure what happened.
9yrs ago I had my first baby, a beautiful little girl called Evie, I didn’t have any issues through the pregnancy with my metal health and was stable. Little did I know at that time that bipolar gets better for females when they are pregnant. A couple of months later, I couldn’t cope, I was suicidal, couldn’t sleep, was having panic attacks, losing touch of reality and had no idea why I had had a baby. I was admitted to an inpatient unit in Australia twice, the first admission I thought I was getting better, went home and crashed 2wks later, on my second admission I was told I had postnatal psychosis, I ended up having 7 sessions of ECT treatment, I just wanted to be better, wanted to not feel suicidal and I wanted to love my baby. It took me 13mths for me too get back to my normal.
5yrs ago, after having weight loss surgery, we found out we were pregnant with a little boy. We had private health insurance, a massive plan around support people, plans for after the birth and medication. Again I was really well during my pregnancy however 4wks after Marley was born I again sunk into postnatal depression. I didn’t have any admissions to the ward but struggled through 13mths until I was back to my normal again. I have been stable now for 4yrs.
My mental health journey has given me a passion for mental health care, I love learning, love talking with people, letting them know there is a light at the end of the tunnel, sharing my story and wanting better from mental health services for each and every person that finds themselves in mental unwellness.
My working life has given me a broad range of skills, as I have worked in many different roles and often moved due to my husbands work. I have worked in Aged Care nursing, managed a business, childcare, beauty, accounts payable and administration, but my biggest role was being a stay at home mum for 7yrs. Moving back to NZ I needed to be an income earner also, I had brief roles with AMI insurance, TSB (bank) and Workwise before I wanted more from my role and put an expression of interest out to organisations who provide mental health care. I was lucky enough to secure my current role and I can honestly say that I love my job!
My role as Consumer Advisor for the Taranaki area is big, but I love it! I am continually learning and developing additional skills specific to Mental Health and Addiction Services. I enjoy spending time with our whānau, sometimes it’s just listening, but this can make such a difference to a consumer whose feelings and thoughts may not have been validated.
I am a great organiser and like to have lots of things on the go, sometimes I find it hard to let others do things, must be a mum thing!
I have a special interest in resources and have developed some of my own and looking at more, also been part of revisions of resources being updated and modernised. I continually seek out new resources and always have stocks in each area.
I have also enrolled in Certificate 4 in Adult Tertiary and teaching through the TDHB for 12mths. This will give me enhanced skills in delivering trainings and education, as well as facilitating groups etc.
Some of my big picture dreams is to have services that are truly person centred, staff with compassion, empathy, genuine care and concern and that think outside the square. Responsive services when people are in distress such as the crisis team, less waiting to see someone, more peer support, more supported living and transitional housing. Compulsory training and education for staff, day programmes for those that need it, self referral and single point of entry to services, more family/whānau involvement, Recovery and Wellness plans for each person, advance directives completed if acute treatment is needed and better communication overall. Collaboration with all organisations and services, working as a unit not in silo’s, drop in centres, peer groups, education in the community and resources that are easy to use and informative so people know where to find help.
As Consumer Advisor I have been committed to personal development and completed the following trainings in the last 12mths:
Deliver the following trainings:
Facilitate feedback from:
Jordana Bealing (Jordy) - Consumer Advisor, Lakes
Involved in various projects in my role as Consumer Advisor:
I’m Jordy, 24 years old and recently graduated from University of Waikato with my Master of Social Sciences in Psychology. My dream has always been to become a Clinical Psychologist. However, after becoming unwell in my second year of university, my dream of becoming a clinical psychologist “went sideways”. My mental health continued to deteriorate to the point where I decided to quit my job as a Community Support Worker for Emerge in Hamilton and come home to my family in Rotorua.
With the love and support of my friends and family I have been able to get well again. My experience of MH & Addiction services have been very mixed, however once I found the right service, and got the right diagnosis things improved. I want to be an influence and I want to see improvements for everyone young and old, Mãori and non-Mãori people being allowed to have a voice and being heard and respected.
I still have hopes of being a clinical psychologist but have found another way to contribute. As Consumer Advisor my role is to represent the views and perspectives of service users /consumers of mental health and addiction services at a strategic level. That means influencing systems change and policies alongside the Consumer Advisory Group I facilitate at Link People. The group ensures people with lived experience of mental health and addiction services have a voice and help services engage with service users. I have more opportunity in this role to influence things and I’m still able to use my skills from university and my personal experience. I’m very excited at the opportunity this role gives me to improve services. The best thing is being allowed to have a voice and having people open to hearing what it’s like for service users and being able to influence the way services interact with clients in a way that supports recovery that is meaningful to them.
Arana Pearson - Eastern Bay of Plenty
Rachael Wild - Lakes
- Rose Stothers - Tairãwhiti
He Tipuana Nga Kakano is supported by the Midland Regional Mental Health & Addictions Network Team:
- Eseta Nonu-Reid - Midland MH&A Region Director
- Akatu Marsters - Midland MH&A Business Support Coordinator
- Steve Neale - Midland MH&A Workforce Planning Lead
- Belinda Walker - Midland Information Project Coodinator