A new Queenstown trust’s been formed to ramp up a community-led mental health initiative.

Recognising the stresses created by Covid, Southern Wellbeing Trust delivered GoodYarn Community mental health workshops to 267 Queenstown and Wānaka people in a pilot programme that started in April last year and finished three months ago.

Uniquely, 15 facilitators — community members with lived experience and relevant skills — delivered the three-hour workshops, in which attendees learnt about looking after their, and others’, mental health.

About half the attendees were from migrant groups.

Now, with funding from Te Hau Toka, the new Head Light Trust’s going to deliver 15 more workshops between next month and June next year.

These include a free workshop for anyone interested at the Frankton Library next Saturday, from 10.30am till 1.30pm — bookings via headlight.org.nz

The trust’s chief executive is Anna Dorsey, who co-founded Southern Wellbeing Trust.

‘‘I think there has been a bit of culture shift since Covid, and mental health is something we talk about now and there’s less stigma,’’ she says.

‘‘What we’ve just started is a conversation with lots of people who have now got a bit of knowledge to take back into their conversations with friends and family/whanau.’’

Dorsey says the programme’s in addition to what’s offered by often-stretched clinical services.

Her trust’s about to publish the findings of the pilot programme, but she notes ‘‘we’ve had really great feedback’’.

‘‘One hundred percent of people would recommend it, and that says a lot.’’

In the upcoming workshops, there’ll be a focus on offering them to organisations and volunteers working with people under stress — ‘‘caring for the carers’’ — and small businesses, especially those in regular contact with people under pressure.

Dorsey, who’ll talk about it at an international mental health conference in Auckland in November, says many other New Zealand communities are knocking on their door for ideas on how to offer a similar programme.

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