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‘Anamata responding to co-existing problems amongst Maori’

‘Anamata responding to co-existing problems amongst Maori’

Anamata, an education provider located in the Eastern Bay of Plenty, has just completed another first for Māori health through its workforce development initiative. In 2010 Anamata began teaching its Diploma in Applied Maori Health – Coexisting Disorders, an NZQA Level 6 approved programme and fully endorsed by DAPANZ.

The qualification - a first of its kind in New Zealand - was developed in response to the need to up skill the existing mental health and addictions workforce; namely Māori support workers/kaimahi and others holding less than a Level 6 Diploma and working at the coal face with ‘at-risk’ populations.

The Diploma recognizes the importance of a qualified workforce to work competently with individuals with coexisting problems and their whānau faced with the task of caring for some one with mental health and addiction issues. According to Dr Candy Cookson Cox who facilitates the course, “Someone having coexisting problems is nothing new. What is important here is that we have a workforce capable and competent to assess, manage and treat the individual and their whānau as a complete package in terms of health delivery”.

Prior to the health reforms in the 1980’s coexisting disorders (mental health and addiction/s) were viewed as a complex sequence of problems that required an integrated and comprehensive approach around assessment, management and treatment. People working in the mental health sector at that time were well-skilled in terms of managing psychiatric illness or disorders and addictions such as alcohol and drugs, and recognised the interrelatedness of both. The move away from this was essentially a funding based decision, with the result that mental health and alcohol and drug addictions were siloed into different camps with competing yet overlapping interests.

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After almost three decades this move has proven to be less effective for Maori and their whānau. Anamata’s response to this is driven by the need to re-develop a ‘coalface workforce’ that can competently work with individuals with coexisting problems to reverse the current negative statistics and over representation of Māori in the mental health and alcohol and other addiction stakes. Currently, individuals and impacted whānau requiring this consideration are left seeking assistance from multiple agencies which more often than not results in fragmentation of care, loss of cultural fluency and a loss of power and control over what remains of their complicated lives. The Diploma aims to reverse this.

The course content is delivered by a group of well-respected clinicians, sector leaders and academics, all of whom have an in-depth level of knowledge around mental health and addictions. Drawn from the four corners of Aotearoa, the collective wisdom of the individuals servicing the course means that the qualification is current, on-trend and developed in such a way as to equip students with the necessary skills required to work effectively with Māori.

Dr Candy Cookson Cox believes that ‘the New Zealand health workforce in general is fatigued by the compounding issues impacting Māori health’ and that expecting non- Māori to continue to seek solutions to these problems is not sustainable. Anamata has always promoted the belief that the ‘solution lies closer to home’. This Diploma, having been developed, written, delivered and practiced with a view to assisting and supporting Māori people to take back control, is in itself one step toward that happening.

Enrollments for 2011 are now open.


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