Futures that Work recipient profile

Q1: What positive impact has the Futures That Work programme made for you?

What an honor it has been to be a recipient of the 2019 Futures That Work programme. The scholarship has not only alleviated the financial burden higher education leaves but also serves as an inspiration as I continue to pursue my studies. I am so grateful to be part of an initiative seeking to empower and build the capacity of Pacific workforce in mental health and addictions.  A reminder to us that our educational pursuits are not just our own but that of our families and Pacific communities, like many I want to give back to the community that has invested in me.

This scholarship has also provided networking opportunities to meet incredible Pacific people from different backgrounds and cultures who share the same passion and drive in improving the health and wellbeing of our Pacific communities. This has been an empowering opportunity to share and encourage each other to power through personal and academic obstacles. As well as enabling me to continue to reinforce and go back to my WHY when feeling overwhelmed and stuck those core principles, those values that made me want to pursue higher education in the first place.

I would like to sincerely express my gratitude to Le Va for making scholarships like this available for me and our Pacific communities. I encourage future Pacific applicants working or looking to work in mental health and addiction sector to apply for the scholarship and support programme and start to manifest you and your communities’ dreams and aspirations.

Malo ‘Aupito

Q2: Why do you study/work in the Pacific mental health and addiction sector?

I am a registered occupational therapist working as a Mental Health Clinician at Lotofale Pacific Mental Health Services, Auckland DHB. I have a passion to improve and empower mental health amongst our Pacific people, in a way that reflects our diverse Pacific values, beliefs, language and practices.  I am in a unique place where I can support our Pacific people in their recovery journey through the integration of family, culture, spirituality and environment which are all important factors that influence Pacific wellbeing. I am especially passionate about supporting our Pacific young people growing up in New Zealand. It is important to engage our young Pacific clients in a way that reflects their worldviews, acknowledging their input in their own recovery journey.

I am also currently studying at AUT pursuing research to provide an understanding of NZ-born Pacific experiencing mental distress and their perceptions around what constitutes positive well-being, guided by the Fonofale model. This research was prompted with the increasing statistics of suicidal rates of young Pacific people and Pacific young people being referred to Lotofale services – specifically NZ-born Pacific whom present with complex psychological, cultural, physical, emotional and social health needs. These can be significantly attributed to balancing multiple identities, roles and values for NZ-born Pacific young people experiencing mental health distress. My hopes for my research are to explore how we can best support and cultivate wellbeing for Pacific young people. As well as advocating for recognition of diverse Pacific identities, values and worldviews so that they are recognised and needs are met appropriately.

Our 2020 Futures That Work Scholarships Programme is now open for applications and you can apply here.

Le Va
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