Ready to give sup­port

Kapi-Mana News - - NEWS - By ES­THER LAUAKI

It had been ‘‘ many, many years’’ since most of the staff from Te Kowhao had set foot in a class­room, but they are now proud grad­u­ates of a WelTec course.

Te Kowhao ed­u­cates peo­ple through work­shops on han­dling dis­crim­i­na­tion and stigma to­wards tan­gata whaiora (peo­ple liv­ing with men­tal ill­ness) and is one ser­vice pro­vided by Te Roopu Pookai Taani­whani­wha, in Can­nons Creek.

Five team mem­bers were thrilled to grad­u­ate from the 17-week Cer­tifi­cate in Com­mu­nity Sup­port, Level 3, in Welling­ton on Fe­bru­ary 3.

Team co-or­di­na­tor Dale Mackey said what set them apart was that they had all ex­pe­ri­enced men­tal ill­ness first-hand.

He said the cer­tifi­cate was de­signed to help peo­ple in men­tal health roles bet­ter un­der­stand the ser­vices avail­able to them and what sup­port they could, in turn, of­fer the com­mu­nity.

‘‘It wasn’t hard, it was ac­tu­ally quite easy but it was the train­ing we had to do so we could do our jobs well,’’ Mr Mackey said.

Com­mu­nity worker Sue Mak­iha said it was the first qual­i­fi­ca­tion she had re­ceived in her life. ‘‘I’m in my 60s now’’. Work­shop fa­cil­i­ta­tor Jacinda Waitaiki said the cer­e­mony felt like deja vu, re­mind­ing her of march­ing in a Massey Univer­sity grad­u­a­tion gown 20 years ago.

‘‘It’s given me skills and knowl­edge that I can use to help other peo­ple. I’ve come from tan­gata whaiora [liv­ing with men­tal ill­ness] to be­ing tan­gata mo­tuhake and be­ing a per­son well in the ab­sence and pres­ence of men­tal ill­ness.’’

Fel­low fa­cil­i­ta­tor Shirley Te Kooti is keen to fur­ther her ed­u­ca­tion to reach more peo­ple.

‘‘It was a priv­i­lege to be able to go and do the course . . . I wanted to do it so I could give back to the peo­ple that gave to me and helped me at the time when I was un­well. Now, if a friend comes to me and asks me for help I will know to go with them to the doc­tors,’’ she says.

The grad­u­ates have started a Cer­tifi­cate in Men­tal Health, Level 4 at Whi­tireia.

Work­ing to­gether: Te Kowhao staff mem­bers, from left, Shirley Te Kooti, Jacinda Waitaiki, Sue Mak­iha, Tau Si­il­ima Feite and Dale Mackey have all grad­u­ated from WelTec’s Cer­tifi­cate in Com­mu­nity Sup­port and know what it is like to live with men­tal ill­ness.

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