Members of Te Hau Toka have been involved in various initiatives to date, including:
- Supporting QLDC’s multi-agency Kia Kaha Hub which assisted over 1,000 Queenstown Lakes residents. The Hub provided accurate, independent information and advice regarding employment, business support, retraining and career advice, along with wellbeing and welfare needs to all members of the Queenstown Lakes community.
- Scoping and establishing a new Mental Health Wellbeing Navigator role (with the support of local Charitable Trust funds) to better connect people with mental health and wellbeing support in their communities. Knowing what wellbeing resources are available can be a challenge and this role improves access to information resources specifically on mental wellness and services in the region. The Navigator has proactively reached out to vulnerable groups to connect them with relevant information and assist people to know how to look after their own mental wellbeing and where to get help if needed. The Navigator actively contributes towards community collaboration and supports innovative responses that help build mental and social wellbeing through key links and information for groups with specific mental wellbeing needs (e.g., older people, Māori, Pacific, families, and rural communities).
- The Navigator is proving to be a very effective mechanism for hearing the community voice and regularly meets with providers across the region in key priority groups (business, migrants, youth, older people, and new parents)
- The Navigator has identified current gaps and available services – Service Provider Directories have been created for each of the key priority groups to help improve access to information and services.
- The Navigator is building networks within the community of providers e.g. by assisting and/or facilitating community events. These include including regular new/expectant parent events (over 60 participants), Mental Toughness events (91 participants), and a Carer Education Day in response to needs identified for older persons (22 participants). The Navigator was also instrumental in co-ordinating the promotion of local events and activities for Mental Health Awareness Week (27 Sept – 3 Oct) however this was impacted by the COVID lockdown and the in-person events were cancelled/postponed.
- Supporting the fast-tracking of the national ’Access and Choice’ mental health initiatives like embedding new Health Improvement Practitioners (HIPs), health coaches and community support workers into primary care, and social workers into schools across the region. This has provided valuable extra mental health and wellbeing support in the past year.
- Rolling out the Mental Health 101 psychological first aid programme with 8 workshops and 102 participants to date (1 workshop was cancelled due to COVID lockdown and 2 workshops were moved online). Attendance at MH101 has been well represented to date by the business community.
- Bringing the National Directory of Suicide Prevention Office to meet with Queenstown Lakes District Councillors, and community providers in Queenstown Lakes and Fiordland (including emergency workers). The discussion included the contributions we can all make to preventing suicides in our communities, the importance of language and well-managed responses when suicides occur.
- Raising local awareness of the free 1737 counselling support helpline and the Mental Health Foundation’s Getting Through Together campaign. 1737 posters have been adapted, using photos of local community members to make them more relatable within our communities.
- Better online access to detailed information about health and wellbeing services. This includes:
- Developing a Traffic Light Guide to help people look after their wellbeing, with tips for what to do in an immediate mental health crisis (red), when you need extra support (orange), and keeping well (green).
- Establishing a monthly email newsletter and a Facebook page to help share news, programmes and opportunities to connect communities.
- Co-ordinating regional promotion for the national annual Mental Health Awareness Week.
- Supporting a Summerdaze programme coordinator role and online event platform to run specific events across Queenstown, Central and Fiordland during the summer season. The aim is to engage communities and bring them together, with an overall focus of improving wellbeing. The role was supported by Te Hau Toka funding in 2021 and 2022.
- Partnering with NZ Police, Hospitality NZ, Public Health South and Queenstown Lakes District Council to support the Queenstown pilot project ‘Take 10’ which aims to reduce alcohol/drug related harm in town (the aim would be to roll this out in other areas after the initial pilot). The staff and volunteer training includes Mental Health Wellbeing training, sexual abuse prevention, First Aid - Level 2, and conflict resolution training. The programme is run successfully in Wellington and insights in the report prepared by Brad Olsen (Principal Economist and Director at Infometrics), show a potential reduction of $8.1 million a year to hospital/police services by having Take 10 in Wellington. The planned start date for the pilot is in the first quarter 2022.
- Boosting Queenstown Lakes District Council’s new Get Active community grant to enable more local organisations to support health and wellbeing in the community.
- Launching a Connecting Communities microfund (max $1,000 per applicant) in November 2021. The fund runs 3 times a year and is designed to support community-led activities and events across Queenstown, Wānaka, Cromwell, and Te Anau/Fiordland which encourage people to find ways to connect, look after themselves and each other, and have some fun. So far, more than $125,000 has been injected into communities across the Southern Lakes region for mental wellbeing activities or events. Read more and view the funding recipients here.
- With little local wellbeing research available, the group has been working to establish additional datasets to help measure the ongoing wellbeing of communities across the Southern Lakes region. This has included:
- A specific set of questions for the Queenstown Lakes District Council’s annual Quality of Life Survey (results received in early 2022)
- Developing and trialling the WHO-5, a quarterly one-minute ‘mood check’ survey. The WHO-5 was a joint initiative developed by Te Hau Toka and Te Whatu Ora Southern’s public health unit, Public Health South. It is based on the five-item World Health Organisation WellBeing Index (WHO-5), an internationally recognised, widely used tool for assessing mental wellbeing. The survey ran in December 2021 and was open to all Queenstown Lakes, Central and Fiordland residents aged 9 and over. Unfortunately the number of respondents and their demographics meant that the group was unable to draw enough conclusions from the data to apply them in a meaningful way to enhance community wellbeing.
- Te Hau Toka is working with an expert to develop a more purposeful long-term evaluation framework to help guide decision-making and funding.
- Scoping and establishing a new part-time Community Wellbeing Co-Ordinator role to help co-ordinate mental wellbeing initiatives in the Fiordland community (Feb 2022). The role was created through a partnership between Te Hau Toka and Great South Regional Development Agency , based on the success of a similar role established in the Queenstown Lakes District in April 2021. This builds on the success of the Queenstown Lakes Navigator, to better connect people with mental health and wellbeing support in their communities.
- Funding a “Picnic at home” initiative during Easter 2022 designed to bring some cheer to our senior communities in Queenstown and Wānaka who are doing it tough. It proved to be extremely popular.
- Partnering with the Southern Wellbeing Trust to run 6 GoodYarn workshops for small businesses in Queenstown and Wānaka in autumn 2022. These are free peer-to-peer mental health workshops which provide a unique opportunity for local businesses to help their leaders and staff talk about what mental health is and how to look after your mental health, how to talk to someone if you are concerned about their mental health, the signs and symptoms of mental stress and distress, and information about where to go for support. More information here.
- Partnering with the Otago Regional Business Partner Network to provide wellbeing support and mentoring to its Regional Business Advisors in Queenstown Lakes and Central Otago region. Prevention and support is key when looking at economic and wellbeing recovery within a community. Advisors and those who are helping others who are stressed and distressed (Caring for the Carers) will benefit from professional wellbeing support and mentoring. Professional wellbeing support and mentoring is provided by a trained and registered counsellor who is giving business advisors the tools to better support their clients and their own wellbeing.
- Partnering with the Otago Regional Business Partner Network to provide targeted wellbeing communications through their networks and channels for businesses across the Queenstown, Cromwell, Wānaka and Te Anau communities.
- Following on from the popular Easter 2022 Picnic at Home initiative for seniors in Queenstown, funding was also provided to run a Mid-Winter Christmas in Cromwell and a Matariki Picnic at Home in Fiordland. Both were extremely well received.
- Funding for the free Light Up Winter festival in Cromwell on 9 July 2022 to help bring people together and boost community wellbeing.
- Funding and operational support to run a free Loss and Grief Education Day for regional healthcare and social service providers on 12 October 2022.
Recognising ongoing community mental health impacts stemming from issues like staff shortages, increased living costs and separation from family support networks, funding is provided to the Head Light Trust to run 15 additional GoodYarn workshops across Queenstown between October 2022 and June 2023. Prioritised participants include the 'carers’ (social agencies, NGOs and volunteers working with people under increased stress) and small businesses, particularly those in regular contact with people under pressure such as professional services, hairdressers, accountants, physios and allied health with under 50 staff.
Funding partnership with Te Pou to develop the innovative international Mental Health First Aid training programme for NZ use. The programme is focused on supporting youth aged 11-18 and will be piloted in the Southern Lakes region. It will then be rolled out across New Zealand.
Funding to expand a targeted programme to improve the mental wellbeing of Whakatipu school children aged 11 and 12. ‘iFLY Whakamana’ helps address the increased anxiety, lack of confidence, and associated behaviours affecting the school community and has had outstanding results so far.
Funding to Southland District Council Libraries to develop a StoryWalk® at the Te Anau Memorial Gardens. The StoryWalk was launched at a Community Open Day on 19 November 2022.
Co-ordination and funding of the monthly Whakatipu Seniors Gig Guide in Mountain Scene newspaper from October 2022. A more detailed version, including activity descriptions and contact details, is then sent to key organisations each month to print and distribute by email. The initiative aims to encourage the Whakatipu's senior community to get involved in activities that help improve their mental and physical wellbeing.
Funding assistance to The Champion for Older Persons Group to increase social connection and mental wellbeing support for senior residents in the Upper Clutha. The 12-month programme supports active ageing, social participation and healthy lifestyles, and encourages seniors to feel connected and involved in their local community.
Operational and promotional support for the Blue Stories Project and exhibition at Frankton Library showcasing portraits and inspiring stories of locals and how they found their way through and out of perinatal depression. The library will also offer Support Sessions to help people connect with the Central Lakes Family Services team, each other and the support services available.