Early workshop: Attendees and facilitators at a recent new parents mental health education workshop - from left, Carol Souza, Byanca Prado, Krista Baker and Mary Mansell (facilitators), Libby Whyte, Carla Jorqeura and Paul Gericke


Queenstown’s Filipino and Brazilian communities and new and expectant parents have
been the first to go through free mental health education work shops, which could be rolled
out nationally.

Southern Wellbeing Trust’s partnering with the national Good Programmes Trust to adapt its ‘GoodYarn’ programme to suit the diverse Whakatipu community.

Using seed funding from various organisations and funds, the southern trust’s been training community-based facilitators to deliver the workshops since December.

They’re being supported by a clinical team, including a GP and a mental health counsellor.

Southern Wellbeing Trust co-founder Anna Dorsey says the workshops help people talk openly about mental health and wellbeing, learn how to recognise symptoms of mental illness and support people experiencing mental distress to access help.

She notes the pilot project helps address a key finding of last November’s community-led
mental health forum.

‘‘There was a strong desire from the participants to see mental health education increased in our community, so by raising awareness of mental health we can help overcome barriers of stigma and culture and make it easier for people to support each other and seek help if they need it.

‘‘By focusing first on specific community groups who have seen increased stresses during
Covid, we’re ensuring the GoodYarn pilot is tailored to work for those who need it most.

‘‘Ultimately, this work will help people build stronger local support networks and increase
our communities’ resilience by fostering a more caring and supportive culture.’’

Her trust’s now working with the business community to co-design workshops specifically
for small businesses.

Both the local and national trusts believe there’s scope for the project to be run across
New Zealand.