February 2016

Main Taranaki Primary connections 008

Leonie Landsheer (left) and Romy Mullan-Heijnen (right) are the clinicians working for Taranaki Primary Connections while Justina Anderson (middle) is the co-ordinator.

A Tui Ora service, Taranaki Primary Connections, has been relaunched with new therapists and a co-ordinator who is its ‘hub’ or first point of contact.

Romy Mullan-Heijnen and Leonie Landsheer are clinicians with Taranaki Primary Connections while Justina Anderson is the co-ordinator.

TPC meets the needs of adults and youth with mild to moderate mental health issues.  These can be characterised by persistent or overwhelming feelings of anxiety, stress and feeling 'low.'  Different factors and situations cause these feelings such as relationship and family difficulties, grief or loss, and employment or educational-related problems.

Leonie, a registered social worker, has worked in the area of special education for the Ministry of Education; specialised in family counselling work, and worked with refuges and indigenous people in Australia before starting at Tui Ora in July 2015.

She’s motivated by a strong sense of social justice and by wanting to support people in their journey.

Romy arrived in New Zealand eight years ago, married a Kiwi and has since gained her Bachelor of Applied Social Science in social work.She says it was always a dream of hers to be able to support others.

The pair provide short term assessments followed by up to four sessions of counselling, called a package of care. They say there is huge diversity of issues among those they see who include youth aged from 12-19 and adults.

They work around Taranaki, and can travel to clients in geographically isolated areas, particularly those who have limited access to resources.

“The service is solution focused intervention so it’s important to provide strategies to empower people and help them move forward,” says Leonie. “Providing those strategies means they sometimes realise they have the strength within them.”

These strategies include a wellness plan that might encompass information about groups people can join, a green prescription or ways of reconnecting with those around them.

“Often individuals have resources but because of the stress or trauma they have forgotten about them. They have to move forward, we support them in that process, help them to understand their context, give them information so they understand what’s happening, says Romy.

Justina, who began as the co-ordinator last year, receives all the referrals from GP’s, public health nurses and school counsellors. She establishes contact by phone with referred people and identifies appropriate counselling services.

Leonie and Romy are also able to do an initial assessment, if needed, to determine risk and the appropriate support required.

Key service facts

  • Enrolment with TPC entitles people to access a wide range of registered counsellors or psychologists who work throughout Taranaki.
  • For a full list of these counsellors or psychologists see the Taranaki Primary Connections part of our website.
  • Up to four sessions are available for each individual depending on circumstances. 
  • For a referral see a GP, public health nurse or school counsellor. To contact the TPC co-ordinator phone 06 759 4064 or [email protected]

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