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Le Va and Mental Health First Aid programme

Each year in New Zealand, one in five adults will experience mental illness, and Pasifika people experience mental illness at a higher rate than the general population. 

Would you know how to respond?

That is the question which initially piqued our team’s interest. It is also an important question to consider when you realise that Pasifika people also have lower levels of mental health visits compared with other ethnic groups living in Aotearoa, New Zealand.  

While Le Va continues to create resources, develop tools and support organisations to become more accessible to and for Pasifika, we were also interested in other avenues to support Pasifika. In the development phase of the Mental Health First Aid training for New Zealand, Le Va contributed to Ko Awatea’s (and CMDHB) adaption for Pasifika people.

Almost a year later, the programme has come to fruition.  Saveatama Eroni Clarke (Cultural and Relationship Manager) and I recently attended a Mental Health First Aid trainer’s workshop, facilitated by Ko Awatea and Counties Manukau DHB. 
Mental Health First Aid is a programme designed for communities and people to learn how to assist someone who is developing a mental illness, i.e. depressive disorders, anxiety or psychosis, or assist someone who is in a mental health crisis, i.e. suicidal thoughts, acute effects from alcohol or other drug misuse and aggressive behaviour. 

Mental health first aid is most relevant in situations when it is first becoming apparent to others that a person in their family or community, which includes their social and/or professional environment, is developing a mental health problem. The course also provides some useful information on how to assist a person who also has a history of a mental illness or longer-term mental health problems. 

This course is provided free of charge to any adult living within the Counties Manukau DHB area. Those living outside of Counties Manukau are usually required to pay, however, Le Va and Counties Manukau Health have reached an agreement for Le Va to be the sole Pasifika provider to disseminate this important information and workshop to Pasifika communities outside the Counties Manukau DHB region. 

We are incredibly thankful for this opportunity and look forward to delivering this programme to many of our communities throughout New Zealand shortly.

Really excited about what Le Va will do in this space. I couldn’t think of a better organisation to be delivering MHFA for Pasifika in Aotearoa.” Kerri Butler, MHFA programme lead, Ko Awatea, Counties Manukau DHB.

About the author •

Covid-19 Update

Face-to-face workshops will not continue while New Zealand is at Level 4. We will be in contact with all participants soon.