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New Mental Wellbeing role aims to ‘connect the dots’

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A new role aimed at connecting people with mental health and wellbeing support in the Central Lakes area will be in place in early 2021, as the district faces its next chapter in its response to COVID-19.

The Mental Wellbeing Navigator role is being established by the Central-Lakes Wellbeing Response Group, which formed following the COVID-19 lockdown.

Including members from Southern DHB, WellSouth Primary Health Network, Queenstown Lakes District Council, Central Lakes Family Services and Tahuna-Whakatipu Māori Community, the group provided a connection point for agencies seeking to support the community in this unprecedented time.

The group has focused on sharing information about wellbeing concerns; monitoring the capacity of mental health services; and promoting initiatives within the district including the introduction of health improvement practitioners, health coaches and community support workers in primary care settings, social workers in schools and QLDC’s Kia Kaha Hub.

However, it was recognised that a longer-term approach was needed, says group chair, Adell Cox, who is also Southern DHB’s Allied Health Director for Mental Health.

“The impacts of COVID have gone through several phases, and families and livelihoods have been significantly disrupted. People are continuing to live with uncertainty, and for some, this is challenging.

“There are a number of supports out there. And while a lot of people have been reaching out for support, we are concerned there are others who have not, for a wide range of reasons.

“A Mental Wellbeing Navigator is a role that can join dots. They will not provide clinical care, but will help point people in the right direction and if needed, facilitate those introductions.

“Importantly, we also see them connecting with connectors. Our employers, teachers, church leaders and others are in touch with wide communities, and some individuals within them may be struggling. We need to make it easier for those community leaders to know what is available, and how to support anyone they have concerns about.”

The Mental Wellbeing Navigator role is anticipated as a two year position, which will formally report to the Central Lakes Family Services. It has been made possible by the generous funding from Central Lakes Trust, Wakatipu Greatest Needs Fund, Community Trust South and Lotteries. The role will be advertised in January.

For further information, please contact:

Nicola Mutch, Executive Director Communications, Southern DHB,, 021 032 8149
Tina Mongston, General Manager, Central Lakes Family Services,, 027 203 3261