Media Release - 02 October 2019 | Counties Manukau Health’s new primary care mental health model, Wellness Support, is proving successful reaching in excess of 4,300 people and providing more than 10,000 consultations in its first year.

“The Wellness Support model encompasses the core themes from He Ara Oranga (Mental Health Inquiry) including offering choice of treatment options and working in partnership with patients in primary care,” says Pam Hewlett, Wellness Support Portfolio Manager.

General Practitioners (GPs) and practice nurses have delivered more than 5,000 hours of mental health support in the community, having started in July, 2018, with just 10 practices.

The model has now been implemented in nearly half of all Counties Manukau general practices and a marae-based clinic in Manurewa, with more than 221,000 people enrolled in these practices now able to access free mental health support, including extended 30 minute consultations with a GP or practice nurse.

“We’ve had fantastic feedback from our patients, it’s an exemplar of a great programme”, says Dr Bruce Arroll of Greenstone Family Clinic in Manurewa.

According to Dr Arroll, there has been reduction in use of medication in his practice and they have increased access for Maaori due to this approach. 

“There is no criteria for age. Most people I see have conditions such as depression or anxiety and they need an average of three consultations. It’s really satisfying to take somebody from a state of distress to a state of ease.”  

Whaanau can now also now access Te Whakaora Hinengaro service, even if they are not currently enrolled.  Here, Maaori healers are available to support them to improve their mental, emotional and spiritual needs at Te Manu Aute Whare Oranga clinic based at Manurewa Marae. 

Former Manurewa Marae CEO, Lorraine Byers says the marae-based clinic has been providing rongoaa services alongside conventional health services since it opened in 2010. With Wellness Support’s increased funding from 2018, rongoaa services can be now be used specifically for mental and spiritual health.

“The majority (90%) of people we see are Maaori and a large number of those that need mental health support prefer rongoaa services – based on te whare tapa whaa - for their ora. We complement it with the clinical support when necessary.  It is a by Maaori for Maaori concept which takes into consideration the importance of wairua, spiritual health,” says Ms Byers.

“There is strong evidence that supports the impact that this service has had with clients who were under Wellness Support, known here as Te Whakaora Hinegaro.”

Next steps – CM Health will enable the implementation of Wellness Support in all general practices within the Counties Manukau district and incorporate the model in to the Ministry of Health Integrated Primary Mental Health and Addiction Service Request for Proposal.

People living in the Counties Manukau district who are feeling anxious, stressed or concerned can ask for a Wellness Support appointment with their family doctor or nurse.

Issued by: CM Health Communications
Media Line: 09 250 9857   Email:Communications@middlemore.co.nz

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