A regional mental wellbeing navigator’s been confirmed to support the Central Lakes communities for a third
Te Hau Toka Southern Lakes Wellbeing Group’s appointed Ella Hitchcock (pictured) to the role, covering the Queenstown-Lakes and Central
Otago, helping people deal with the long tail of Covid-related impacts.
Part of her role’s working with agencies and networks to help coordinate an overall picture of needs and mental health service capacity, facilitate connections, and work collaboratively on wellbeing initiatives.
She replaces Lisa Gear, who’s now working for Central Lakes Family Services.
Hitchcock, who has a double-degree in law and health science, majoring in public health, has worked in community development, LGBTQIA+, Māori and Pasifika support, student pastoral care and disaster and humanitarian relief, among other things.
Te Hau Toka chair Adell Cox believes Hitchcock’s passion, skills and knowledge — particularly in youth advocacy and care — will strengthen the team.
‘‘Ella brings a fresh perspective and real insights into the difficulties our young people are facing.
‘‘There’s been a lot of great mahi so far, but there’s still a lot to do to help our communities recover [from Covid].
‘‘Our primary goal is to keep people well before they get to the stage of needing acute clinical care, so promotion, prevention and early intervention are key.
‘‘We need to keep the spotlight on why it’s so important for people to prioritise their mental health and wellbeing and encourage them to seek help early so that they receive the right supports to get them back on track.’’