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Engaging and empowering taiohi

Engaging and empowering taiohi
Members of the Youth Wellness team from left to right: Terri Wood, Michelle Ogle-Atkins, Tamara Ruakere, Markham Grey, William Wells, Sandi Cummings and Jo Kindberg

Last Updated: September 2017

A new service that aims to empower our taiohi (young people) and helps them to build confidence and resilience is being rolled out across Taranaki.

The service, coined Youth Wellness, is for young people aged between 12 and 18. Designed as a strength based service it’s intended to build emotional and behavioural resilience in a positive way.

For young people who are experiencing mild to moderate mental health issues the service hopes to be able to intervene before problems escalate to the next level.

The service is currently available to community referrers with a pilot being launched in selected high schools and intermediates at the start of the 2018 school year.

“The idea with Youth Wellness is to work with young people who are having problems – and that can be anything that is affecting their wellbeing - and through supportive and targeted interventions help turn those problems around before they become bigger issues.” explains Service Development Coordinator, Michelle Ogle-Atkins.

“Part of what we want to give our young people is the ability to manage when things go wrong, to make positive choices about their future and to play to their strengths. It’s about building confidence and resilience,” says Michelle.

The project intends to work collaboratively with schools, whānau and GPs. An in-school programme will ensure that students have access to the service through schools but the programme will also be accessible in homes or marae if that suits the client better.

The service intends to be responsive to, and to offer culturally relevant support for Maori and Pasifika young people, but will be open to any young person at risk.

Delivering the programme will be a team of Youth Wellness Clinicians who will work across Taranaki. Tui Ora old hands Markham Grey, Sandi Cummings and William Wells are joined by new recruit Jo Kindberg, a registered nurse who came to Tui Ora from CAMHS (Child & Adolescent Mental Health Service)

“I’ve always been passionate about working with young people and I am a firm believer that a person’s health and wellbeing should be looked at holistically,” says Jo.

“Youth Wellness is going to give us the opportunity to build proper relationships with these kids and have a positive impact on their futures. It’s really empowering – for them and for us. I’m really excited about being part of the team.”

A further clinician is due to join the team in September.

Service Leader Oranga Hāpori, Tamara Ruakere, who is managing Youth Services in her new position says:

“This is a really exciting space for us to be working in.

“In the last few weeks we’ve been meeting with schools that are going to be involved with the pilot and they are crying out for this kind of service. The feedback so far has been really positive and we can’t wait to start working with them.”

Rangatahi Services Team Leader, Terri Wood says:

“Youth Wellness doesn’t replace other services that Youth Service already delivers. All of that good work will continue but it does enhance the support we are able to offer to young people by including children from the age of 12.

“It’s part of the wrap around service that we try and deliver to our clients. We want to respond to the needs of our young people and Youth Wellness will help us to meet that need.”
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