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New community-based drug and alcohol service launching in Otago

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Community based alcohol and drugs services in Otago will soon be expanding with an innovative new service to be run by Te Kāika.

Te Kāika provide a range of health and social services, that includes general practice within a Te Ao Māori framework in South Dunedin, and deliver contracts by a Te Whatu Ora, Oranga Tamarki, Ministry of Social Development and other government agencies.

The new community alcohol and drug services will be integrated into these services, clients already using Te Kāika’s services will be proactively connected to the new service, while others will be able to access it directly. Similarly, those that access the service directly will be able to engage with other Te Kāika services including their general practice and social services if they require further support.

Toni Gutschlag, Executive Director of Mental Health, Addictions and Intellectual Disabilities for Te Whatu Ora Southern says, “We’re very excited about this new service – it’s an opportunity for Te Whatu Ora – Southern to embrace a different way of working that is responsive to community needs and can deliver comprehensive outcomes for Māori and other whānau in the community.”

“Te Kāika will be able to provide an integrated wraparound service for tangata whaiora and whānau and help them access the health and social services they need, as well as high quality specialist alcohol and other drug services. This is an innovative approach in the way mental health and addiction services are provided.”

Matt Matahaere, Chief Executive Officer for Te Kāika says, “We are excited about providing new services and extending on our current ecosystem and infrastructure of Te Kāika.”

The service will be stood up over the coming weeks and is expected to be fully operational by February 2023. It will include wānanga, whānau ora approaches, therapeutic interventions and peer support all delivered within a Māori framework. It will be available to all adults with moderate to severe and/or complex addiction issues, with a specific focus on connecting with Māori.

“We’re delighted to be able to offer this new AOD service to support our whanau and community.  It has been long overdue and we are eager to make a start” says Selina Elkington, General Manager of Drug and Addictions for Te Kāika.

The new community-based alcohol and drug service meets an area of need identified through the 2021 Time for Change – Te Hurihanga review. It’s part of a larger programme of mental health reforms underway to bring mental health and wellbeing care closer to home and make it easier to access for everyone.

Time for Change – Te Hurihanga is a focused year-long project led by the Southern DHB to address health, equity, location, social and systemic issues and put people at the centre of care. 

It’s part of the direction to transform Aotearoa’s mental health and addiction system over the next 10 years. The new health and disability reforms recognise that mental wellbeing is influenced by factors including income, housing, and employment - requiring a whole-of-government approach. It aims to support people to stay well, and have access to help that works for them, when and where they need it.

More resources for the Time for Change – Te Hurihanga programme, including project updates, frequently asked questions, who’s involved and opportunities to engage, as well as the full Time for Change – Te Hurihanga review, are available at: www.southernhealth.co.nz/timeforchange