Guest Blog: Chris Murray – Mental Health and Addiction Scholarships Recipient
My Name is Chris Murray. I recently completed my doctorate in Clinical Psychology at the University of Auckland.
While studying, I was fortunate enough to receive the Le Va mental health and addiction scholarship and support for three years, between 2013 and 2015. Having the financial support from Le Va to assist me through my studies definitely eased some of the pressure I experienced, helping me achieve my academic goals, and eventually complete my degree. I don’t think I would have been able to progress had it not been for this help from Le Va.
Additionally, being associated with Le Va allowed me access to other helpful Pasifika-centred networks, resources and tools. For example, having access to psychologist network Pasifikology has helped connect me with other Pacific psychologists currently working in the field.
There are a number of barriers that Pasifika people face when wanting to venture into academic studies – such as financial cost and the fear of potentially feeling disconnected. Having financial support from Le Va was enormously helpful for me, and I know has helped many others accomplish their highest aspirations. As Pasifika people, social connection is very important. Being involved with Le Va has helped me nurture old connections and create new ones, with trusted networks that will support me both personally and professionally now and in the future.
My goal now is to carry this support I have been so fortunate to receive into my own work as one of very few Samoan Clinical Psychologists, and pay it forward as I work with Pasifika youth in South Auckland. I’m also growing my own leadership and paying it forward by getting involved in some of Le Va’s projects, like Tu Tonu Pasifika Co-Existing Problems tool – a formulation tool for the Pacific workforce to better assess and treat Pacific people with co-existing mental health and addiction issues.
I recommend others to go for these scholarships. It’s not just the financial support, but all that comes with it that makes the difference.
Malo lava Le Va!
Dr Chris Murray