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Pioneering online site for health workers

07 April 2009
Media Release – for immediate release

Platform launches pioneering online networking site for mental health and addiction support workers

One of the world’s first online networking sites for mental health and addiction support workers has been launched in New Zealand.

The pioneering Aotearoa Mental Health and Addiction Support Workers ‘ning’ has been set up by Platform, the national collaboration of community organisations that provide mental health and addiction services.

Launched at the Wellington-based organisation’s National Support Worker’s Summit, already has scores of members using it to link with other support workers nationally and share ideas, information and news.

Platform CEO Marion Blake said: “This is a very new concept and we don’t know of any other site of this kind for support workers anywhere in the world.

“We are getting overwhelmingly supportive feedback from support workers and organisations working in the areas of mental health and addiction.

“There is an incredibly diverse and widespread population of support workers in so many different organisations across New Zealand.

“They have been waiting for some sort of vehicle to enable them to connect with and talk to each other in ways that are beyond organisations, beyond job descriptions and beyond geography – and this is it.”

Platform commissioned Megan Hosking of Wellington-based communications design company Alto to set up the site using free ning software, an online platform that allows users to create their own social websites and networks.

Megan will provide support in running the site for the first six weeks and, while Platform will remain closely involved, the aim is that it will ultimately become self-organising.

Megan, who also created the Intersect Ning for young professionals, said: “I’m very pleased to have been able to bring my networking know-how and experience of building vibrant online communities to this project.

“Ultimately I’d like to be able to hand it over as an operational and vibrant community for mental health and addiction workers to grow it themselves.”

Support worker Roy Prangley from Papakura said the site would provide a very valuable resource.

“I have great pride in being able to be part of this group,” he said. “It gives me even more satisfaction than gaining my Mental Health Certificate at the age of 60.”

About Platform
Platform provides a contact point for nationwide feedback on issues that relate to mental health and addiction NGOs. It aims to give voice to matters that impact on community organisations’ ability to provide services and to promote the role of New Zealand’s health and disability community sector nationally and internationally.


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