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New support service coaches Kiwis on path to mental wellness

Thursday, October 15, 2015

New support service coaches Kiwis on their path to mental wellness

Rates of diagnosed mental health conditions are rising. A recent New Zealand Mental Health Survey found that nearly half (46.6 per cent) of the population is predicted to meet the criteria for a mental illness sometime in their lives with 20.7 per cent experiencing mental health issues in the past 12 months.

Support Stream is a new service to help New Zealanders manage their mental health and wellbeing. The service is there to act as a support system for anyone needing a little extra help and offers support for those experiencing mental health issues such as Anxiety and Depression or distress due to challenging life events such as a death of a loved one, separation or unemployment.

The service is a self-funded, mobile health service operating in Auckland communities where Wellness Coaches support people to optimal mental wellbeing.

Support Stream’s Practice Leader and Occupational Therapist Shelley Southgate says “We take a holistic approach to mental health. Wellbeing occurs when you have balance in all areas of your life. Our Wellness Coaches get people thinking about improving their overall wellbeing through a tailored, practical approach with a personal wellness plan.”

A wellness plan may include an exercise and nutrition plan, a daily schedule to help manage overwhelming household tasks, relaxation and mindfulness strategies or support to join a local community group.

The service works in partnership with the clients’ GP or health professional to ensure an integrated approach. Through Support Stream, clients are first assessed by a registered health professional who ascertains their level of required support. The Wellness Coach will then work individually with a client to meet these support needs and achieve their wellness goals.

Shelley explains, “Quite often for those who feel anxious or low in mood and lack motivation, the essential advice and guidance from a health professional is challenging to apply in their daily lives. Our Wellness Coaches walk alongside clients giving them the encouragement, motivation and hands on support they need to take active steps towards recovery.”

Support Stream also assists Whānau by offering a support system to gather information, advice and an additional pair of hands.

Support Stream Operations Manager Erin McGuinness says family members often become the default and sole caregiver for those experiencing a mental illness and often worry that they cannot properly support their family member.

“Family members are often the only support system and often require as much support as those living with a mental illness. Our practical approach will reduce stress on families and provide further support for those that do not meet secondary services criteria.”

Shelley emphasises that Support Stream is unique because they are a mobile service. Wellness Coaches can meet with people in their own homes and in the community. “Maintaining and repairing relationships in their communities is integral to sustained positive mental health. Our Wellness Coaches have strong links to the community and are highly skilled in fostering social inclusion.”

“Ultimately it is the client’s goals that drive the work we do. When goals are achieved we hope that clients continue to take care of their own wellbeing utilising the tools and resources that we have provided them. This enables the individual to feel empowered and take charge of their mental health,” Shelley says.

The initial assessment is $120 for a personalised wellness plan and a fee of $30 per hour. Support Stream is available in Auckland’s Central, Eastern and Southern regions.

- Ends -

About Support Stream
Support Stream is a high quality support service and comes with the experience and solid reputation of Affinity, a provider of community mental health services for 42 years. Established in 2015, Support Stream is a mobile community support service to help people recover from a mental illness or a distressing period of their life.

For assistance ring: 0800 196 970

Support Stream is offered for clients 13 years old + and available Monday -Sunday 7:00 am to 8:00pm as required.

Support options include:

• Understanding your mental health
• Creating your own wellness plan
• Managing your daily tasks
• Relaxation and mindfulness techniques
• Managing your stress and anxiety
• Developing an exercise routine
• Nutrition and healthy meal planning
• Employment/Education support
• Utilising community resources
• Establishing relationships and social connections
• Extra support current support people including respite

If you or anyone you know is in danger of hurting themselves, please urgently contact the organisations below:

Lifeline - 0800 543 354
Depression Helpline (8 am to 12 midnight) - 0800 111 757
Suicide Crisis Helpline (aimed at those in distress, or those who are concerned about the wellbeing of someone else) - 0508 828 865 (0508 TAUTOKO)
Youthline - 0800 376 633, free text 234 or email

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