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Health Service to Gain World of Difference Worker

10 October 2003
News release

Mental Health Service to Gain “World of Difference” Worker

An Auckland-based specialist mental health service is to benefit from an innovative programme that enables Kiwis to spend a year working for the charity or cause of their choice, anywhere in the world, while receiving a year’s salary.

Tracey Napa, from Mairangi Bay, will join the Auckland-based Deaf Mental Health Service in March 2004 through Vodafone New Zealand Foundation’s World of Difference programme.

A nationwide survey commissioned by the Vodafone New Zealand Foundation (Foundation) revealed that 93% of Kiwis believe they can make the world a better place, yet only 17% of those questioned were involved in charity work on a regular basis

Tracey Napa, who has sign language skills and experience in rehabilitation services, made an application to the Foundation in order to bring her skills together within a unique health service.

Being chosen as a recipient, she will receive a regular mental health worker’s salary underwritten by the Foundation, and the Deaf Mental Health Service will receive funds to cover additional expenses Tracey incurs to fulfil her role.

The Deaf Mental Health Service was established in 2001 under a joint venture between experienced mental health providers Richmond Fellowship New Zealand and Auckland’s Framework Trust, following research that shows 44% of Deaf people have an unidentified or un-met mental health requirement.

The service has a foundation contract with the Ministry of Health to provide services for 25 people, from Northland to Tauranga, and recently won a second contract through the Hutt Valley District Health Board to provide services in the Wellington region and the lower and central North Island. In August the service won a 2003 Aotearoa/New Zealand Mental Health Award.

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Linda Hall, Team Leader for the Deaf Mental Health Service, says the secondment is a wonderful opportunity.

“Our main focus for Tracey is likely to be in the area of resource development, so that our information and written material is as deaf-friendly as possible. This is critically important for our service, because many of our clients have minimal language skills. Deaf language is structurally different from written English.”

Richmond chief executive Dr Gerry Walmisley says, the World of Difference programme is a shining example of corporate responsibility and shows the potential for the corporate and non-government sectors to work together.

“The Deaf Mental Heath Service was conceived and implemented by two NGO providers, and now with support from the Vodafone New Zealand Foundation we can take it to a next level. World of Difference is an excellent initiative which will help us to make a real difference for a group of people with complex and specialised needs.”

Editors Notes:

Richmond Fellowship is a major provider of community health and support services throughout New Zealand. The Fellowship has developed specialist services for a range of purchasers including the Ministry of Health, Crown Public Health and District Health Boards. Services include support programmes for people with mental, psychiatric or psychological illness, respite and emergency support, consumer based drop-in services, specialist youth services and dual diagnosis services (including intellectual disability/mental illness).

Framework Trust is an Auckland community-based charitable trust supporting people with mental illness. Services include community support, residential support, employment and a joint venture intensive support programme.

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