“Depression isn’t just being a bit sad. It’s feeling nothing. It’s not wanting to be alive anymore.” – J. K. Rowling
When I was a child I can recall perhaps one person that I knew over my entire schooling years who had taken their life. I look at the world my children have grown up in and it is sobering to be able to name so many people, both close to them and far, for whom suicide was their response to the issues they faced. Cousins, teachers, school friends, people they know. It makes me fearful; at the same time it makes me on high alert to the troubles we all experience from time to time, and how we respond.
The world famous author of the Harry Potter fantasy stories, JK Rowling, reflected on a period as a young single parent when she contemplated suicide. She shared her innermost anxieties with a relief GP, who told her “if you ever feel a bit low, come back and speak to the nurse about it”.
It was the dedication of her own doctor that saved her. When her doctor was looking over the patient notes after returning to work, she knew that something wasn’t right – and called her back in. That one phone call saved her life – JK Rowling started counselling, embarked on a therapeutic journey of healing, and slowly, gradually, began to recognise her triggers, started to take notice of the special moments in her life – moments that over time occurred more than the darkness.
Being alert; watching out for warning signs, taking time to care – are all steps that all of us can take to monitor each other, to assess our own self-health. He taonga rongonui te aroha ki te tangata. Goodwill towards others is a precious treasure. It just takes time to care; eyes to see the pain; ears to really hear; a heart that is big enough to share. Most of all it takes aroha; aro-hā; the presence of the divine breath within us all.
This week a number of our Whānau Ora Navigators gathered at Wairewa Marae for a professional development wānanga. They were blessed to have Whaea Melani Burchett and her team to wrap them in rongoā mō te wairua, te hinengaro, te tinana. With the support of Nanny Mū (Morehu Flutey), they also had a wānanga focused on the fourth layer of the karakia ‘Te Kawa o Io’. They talked about the inner eye or inner x-ray, maintaining our auric colours, healing past trauma and the wisdom of Hine Marama.
Our friends at Whānau Whanake in Christchurch have been busy establishing a rangatahi rōpū as part of a new approach to target rangatahi who have been impacted by chronic health conditions, disability, injury or trauma. This group of incredible rangatahi have backgrounds in health and physical wellbeing, and are actively working within our community. As part of this group they will be providing an outreach service and supporting the vaccination campaign, by working with their target audience to provide support and connect them to services. Tūhono whānau, tūhono rangatahi, tūhono tinana.
This initiative has been supported from our new fund which draws on matauranga Māori to enable wellbeing – Tama Ora. Whānau Whanake received funding for rangatahi who have been excluded from mainstream sport and physical activity due to physical and mental barriers. Whānau Whanake is a community-based social enterprise that encourages ways to increase participation in activities that are meaningful and support whānau wellbeing and health. Their tūhono will walk alongside whānau to discover their pathway to hauora and living well.
Last month we shared a sneak peek from the filming of Te Pātaka, the incredible kai network that was established last year during the first nationwide lockdown. This week we’re very pleased to share the finished product, starring Dr Lorraine Eade (Ngāti Rārua, Ngāti Toa, Te Ātiawa, Ngāti Tama, Ngāti Koata, Rangitāne, Ngāi Tahu) as she shares the successes of Te Pātaka, the ongoing support they’ve received from their hapori, and their plans for the future. Thanks to Loud Noise Media for this stunning video.
This week we were delighted to see one of our Wave initiatives Black & Tan Young Guns celebrated in the national press. Created by Kim Clark and based in Murihiku, this kaupapa aims to get more young people competing in dog trials through a series of training days that connect a new generation of “young guns” with experienced mentors. The first of these training days took place last weekend and captured the attention of the Otago Daily Times and The Project. Congratulations to Kim and the team behind Black & Tan for putting together a programme that brings a sense of community and intergenerational knowledge to young dog triallers in Murihiku.
Black and Tan has been supported through our Wave funding, to support “young guns” into the sport of dog trialling competitions with the addition of the mana mentorship programme. The highlights this quarter have been the feedback Kim has received:
“Love what you’re doing”, “I was hoping for something like this”.
The Ministry of Health has opened the consultation on repealing and replacing the Mental Health (Compulsory Assessment and Treatment) Act, and want to hear from you about what new mental health legislation should look like in Aotearoa New Zealand. It’s really important that we get this right and we have had a few conversations on how best to undertake Māori consultation on this kaupapa. There is a long history of inequity in this space and it’s important that we ensure we hear your voice.
Philip Grady, Acting Deputy-Director Mental Health and Addiction, talks to John Whaanga, Deputy-Director General Māori Health, about the importance of hearing from Māori in the consultation to repeal and replace the Mental Health Act. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U-rO3EAybBY
Pānuihia wētehi anō kōrero mō tēnei uiuinga kai te paetukutuku o Te Manatū Hauora. https://www.health.govt.nz/our-work/mental-health-and-addiction/mental-health-legislation/repealing-and-replacing-mental-health-act