Mental Health & Addiction Update - 18 September 2020

on 21 September



Kia ora whānau

Robyn Shearer
Deputy Director-General, Mental Health and Addiction


Nau mai Te Wiki o te Reo Māori me ō wero, me ō āheitanga, me ō whakaaweawetanga ki te motu. Tēnā tātou katoa.

I welcome Māori language week with its many challenges, opportunities, and the inspiration it brings to our country. Greetings to you all.

It’s been a wonderful week here at the Ministry celebrating te Reo Māori. We took the opportunity to say karakia, sing waiata, and welcome new staff with mihi whakatau – all these things contribute to the revitalisation of te reo Māori and to the embedding of wairua or spirit into our mahi.

From one week of celebration to another. I’m so pleased to be welcoming Mental Health Awareness Week next week!

This year hasn’t been easy. Many of us have had to reconsider the experiences, actions and surroundings that make us feel good, stay well, and uplift our wellbeing.

I hope you have all had time recently to think about what small, daily practices you do to maintain your mental wellbeing. Next week is a great time to share these with your friends, family, whānau and workmates. COVID-19 has caused a lot of uncertainty for us all this year, and that’s not going to change for a while, so being proactive and deliberate about those small wellbeing practices is more important than ever to help our resilience.

If you need a bit of inspiration to get your plans for the week underway, then check out the story below that has a handy checklist to make sure you’re ready. I also wanted to let you know that the Director General Dr Ashley Bloomfield and I will be hosting a Facebook live session at 5:30pm on Tuesday next week to talk about some of the issues that may be causing anxiety and the importance of taking care of our mental wellbeing.

I also wanted to share with you a great story about coping during tough times from the team at Getting Through Together. It’s about a lady who lived through a world war and the polio pandemic as a small girl growing up in Scotland. Maggie has some sound advice on how to look after ourselves in tough times. “Sit there, close your eyes and count to ten. Think ‘I could be doing something different, so what can I do'.”

This message really resonates with me as it shows that we all have the power to choose to focus on what we can do – rather than what we can’t – when faced with life’s challenges.

Finally, I just wanted acknowledge Marion Blake MNZM, Chief Executive at Platform/Atamira Trust.

I have worked alongside Marion for many years and have always been impressed with her energy and enthusiasm. Marion is an icon for the community sector and she has dedicated much of the last twenty years to being a staunch advocate – demonstrating her passion and commitment to people with lived experience. I love her drive and humour – always a big hug when we meet (although we have to bump elbows at the moment!). I shall miss her spark and ability to keep us on our toes. I feel sure she will continue to do this with her new journey up North. Thanks Marion for your wonderful work and advocacy.

Ngā mihi nui

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