Waikato DHB held the first of a series of planned public meetings this week to ask the Waikato community to share experiences, views and ideas that will help guide the new direction of mental health and addiction services in the Waikato. The DHB wants to improve mental health and addiction services in its district.
The first big public meeting was held at the Taumarunui RSA this week where around 100 people attended. The meeting was coordinated with the Taumarunui Kokiri Trust.
The aim was for anyone to have their say and the conversations included those experiencing mental health issues, whānau/families and friends who wanted support to help their loved ones and GPs talking about their experiences of trying to assist those who need extra help in a rural community.
It was clear that there was a gap in the services provided and there was concern voiced from the community that they couldn’t always get the mental health treatment or help they required when they needed it. They also didn’t know what was available and where to go.
With mental illness affecting about one in six New Zealand adults in their lifetime, and more people needing better access to mental health and addictions services, Executive Director Strategy and Funding Julie Wilson said it is important that we find ways to meet these increasing demands and give people the high level of care they and their whānau/families need.
“The DHB is aware that services do not always meet the needs of the people they are intended to help and will move to improve mental health services within the region,” Ms Wilson said.
“We will do this in partnership with social agencies and communities so that the whole system of care can be improved, and that services reflect the priorities of people who experience mental and/or addiction issues, their whānau/families, their carers and the wider community.
“We want the community to have involvement in the whole process so we can get it right.”
The earlier people with mental illness are able to be diagnosed and treated allows a greater chance of them getting the help they need and living a fulfilling life.
Participants will be kept in the loop and offered further opportunities for engagement and involvement as the DHB works its way around the Waikato community.
Other meetings are being planned for in the New Year and will be held throughout all of the Waikato DHB region. Engaging with Māori is also a priority and the DHB is working with local Māori service providers and their iwi to find the best way to reach them to hear their voice.
For those who were not able to make the Taumarunui meeting there is a survey that can be completed on line through the following link