Equip is a leading mental health organisation, an extension of Windsor Park Church, providing an innovative model of care, effective support and education in the greater Auckland region.

1 in 5 NZ adults experience mental illness in any year. Would you know how to respond?
Thursday, January 10, 2019
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We are a group who have lived experience supporting a family member with a mental illness. Coffee group is held the second Thursday of each month
Thursday, January 10, 2019
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Are you a family member of a person who experiences mental health issues? Equip would love to connect with you.

Thursday, January 10, 2019
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 If you ever want to scare yourself, look up on the internet how mental health issues were treated in the past. Often the treatments were bizarre, verging on cruel. Frequently the only “therapy” was confinement. All over New Zealand, and most other countries, you can still see the remnants of huge rambling mental hospitals that used to be full but are now abandoned or used for other purposes. The main reason they are now empty is that modern drugs mean that far more people are able to have their symptoms treated while still living at home and in the community.

As you know, it is still a drag having mental health problems.   The good news is that most psychological and psychotic issues can now be helped with good therapies; the bad news is that the drugs are not perfect, and the process of diagnosis and prescribing the right medication is still far from perfect as well. We are all different and a drug that really helps one person might not do anything for another except give them side effects. It can be upsetting and make us wonder if we might not be better off without any treatment at all. However, we have to at least admit that things are so much better than they used to be. When medication gets tweaked and fine-tuned to suit us, our life is usually so much better than when we are trying to cope with untreated symptoms. Hang in there – that ‘tweaking and tuning’ can take a while. Here are a few tips and insights to help you get there.

1.       1.Become an expert on yourself. Diary your experiences, noting anything about your mood or behaviour that might be a bit different. Look up some of the possible side-effects that can occur with your medication and make a note if any of them occur. Discuss your findings with your doctor – your diary can be very useful.

2.       2.You might become the expert on yourself, but your doctor is still the expert on the drugs. Resist the temptation to alter your dose or try some non-prescribed drugs without talking to a medical professional.

3.       3. Don’t be afraid of annoying your doctor by asking lots of questions and requesting changes if things are not working well.  Your doctor understands the ‘tweaking and tuning’ process, and will not be insulted if you say a medication doesn’t work as well as hoped. (Sometimes, though, drugs do take a while to work well: your doctor might be quite right to ask you to be patient and persevere a bit longer).

4.       4. Treatment with drugs is only part of getting your mental health back. Counselling, life-style changes and social support can all have brilliant benefits.

5.      5. Many of the more common side effects – such as constipation, weight gain and insomnia – can be treated to make the anti-psychotic drugs more tolerable. Many side-effects also decrease as your body gets used to the drug.

6.      6. Keep an eye on your overall health – antipsychotic drugs are ‘relatively’ safe but, for some people, they can affect their cholesterol and heart and cause other problems. If in any doubt, at least call your doctor’s nurse. 

Tuesday, January 15, 2019
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Mental Illness and Suicide

Did you feel a little scared just looking at the title of this article? Almost everyone is at least a little afraid of this topic, as if even reading about suicide will nudge us towards doing it. A little reassurance: the next few paragraphs will help you pull the handbrake on those self-destructive thoughts. It will actually pull you back from the brink, not tempt you to edge closer.

As you probably know, mentally unwell people tend to be more likely to attempt suicide. In fact, a New Zealand study interviewed people who had survived a serious attempt at suicide and it revealed that almost all of them were struggling with some identifiable mental health problem. Is there any good news in that for us if we have mental health issues? Yes! It means that if you find your mind urging you towards taking your life, you can be absolutely certain it is your illness talking and it is NOT the result of rational, reasonable, logical thinking. Here is the fact to cling on to:  mentally well people do NOT escape problems through suicide. When brains work well, they know there are always better options than suicide. Yes, awful things can happen and painful emotions can rip our hearts but, even so, a healthy mind always concludes, “This will pass”, “This is survivable”, “I cannot see a solution yet but a solution is there”. 

Depression ‘dims our headlights’. Our dim lights show the problem in front of us – the pain, guilt, rejection, whatever – but they don’t give us enough light to see a solution that is any good.  Imagine you are driving on a mountain road, and a land-slide blocks your way. With your dim lights you conclude, “I can either smash into the cliff on one side or plummet over the edge on the other”. Two solutions… but both of them are terrible! You need to borrow brighter lights – the lights from friends, family and professionals who will see things so differently. I guarantee that, when they hear of your pain and problems, they will NOT say, “Yes, I completely agree. The only thing to do is to end it all.” It may surprise you, even slightly annoy you, that they see exits and bypasses and solutions all over the place when all you can see is darkness, cliffs and ravines.  Depression also can make us feel so weak and tired that we just want to give up; so, as well as borrowing their light, accept their care, love and support as well: their strength can become your strength.  And, most of all, borrow their hope! Depression may have (temporarily) stolen your bright future… ask them to help you build a new one.

The takeaways from this:

  • Suicide is never a good solution to any problem.

  • When suicidal thoughts trouble you, tell yourself (over and over if necessary) that this thinking is a symptom of mental unwellness. As your health returns, the thoughts will ease.

  • Even though you might fear embarrassment, get support from someone you trust. It will help you be steadier and feel connected, and you can borrow their cooler, clearer perspective on your problems.

  • Definitely share your suicidal inclinations with your mental health professional or doctor. Extra support is usually available for people with acute needs, and medication may help.

  • Always take your prescribed medication. Coming off anti-psychotic medication is especially dangerous as distressing and confusing symptoms can come flooding back.

  • Have an action plan ready-to-roll. If you ever feel at real risk, you will have at hand the numbers to call a Crisis Team or Helpline. Your plan might also include care for your kids if you need a break.


Are you really troubled right now? Call a help line (below) straight away.  You do not need to die. There are better solutions. There is hope.

WHERE TO GET HELP:

1737, Need to talk? Free call or text 1737 any time for support from a trained counsellor

Lifeline – 0800 543 354 or (09) 5222 999 within Auckland

Youthline – 0800 376 633, free text 234 or email talk@youthline.co.nz or online chat

Samaritans – 0800 726 666

Suicide Crisis Helpline – 0508 828 865 (0508 TAUTOKO)

What's Up – 0800 942 8787 (for 5–18 year olds). Phone counselling is available Monday to Friday, midday–11pm and weekends, 3pm–11pm. Online chat is available 7pm–10pm daily.

Kidsline – 0800 54 37 54 (0800 kidsline) for young people up to 18 years of age. Open 24/7.

thelowdown.co.nz – or email team@thelowdown.co.nz or free text 5626

Anxiety New Zealand - 0800 ANXIETY (0800 269 4389)

Supporting Families in Mental Illness - 0800 732 825.

If it is an emergency, or you, or someone you know, is at risk, call 111.


Tuesday, January 08, 2019
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Mental Health and Parenting


Does our poor mental health impact our children? It certainly can. We are a huge part of our children’s world. If our emotions, thinking and behaviour start to skew, then they will probably be able to see it and will be impacted by it.  But here is the good news: children can be amazingly resilient and sympathetic about a parent’s struggles. From school age on, with a little help, many of them develop surprisingly mature insights into our ‘ups and downs’.  More good news: if children feel loved and safe, then you already have your ‘pass-mark’ as a parent! It is amazing what else can be ‘wrong’ in their upbringing but, if they feel loved and safe, they will still grow up to be healthy, whole adults… and they will most likely still love you to bits! 

Here are a few tips:

  1. Let kids know that there is always a plan B.  If our children have experienced episodes of our poor mental health in the past, they may be really scared about who will look after them if we get unwell again. Ahead of time, line up your back-ups. “You know if I am getting unwell, Mrs Green next door says you can pop in there any time and stay. And Aunty Tina will take you home if it looks like I need a bit of a break. So you never need to worry: there are always people who can look after you if I get sick.” Our priority will always be our children’s safety. If we honestly have to concede that our children might be in some risk, it is great to have a plan ready-to-roll to get them quickly to a safer situation.

  2. Debrief with them. Our children will gain better insights into what is happening if we actually talk with them about issues that have arisen.  Maybe that won’t be possible in the midst of a difficult time; we might need to wait until we recover, or our partner could step in and speak with them. Rather than just telling them information, it is more important to listen.  Ask questions and don’t be too quick to contradict their fears or distress. Sympathise. If it is appropriate, apologize.

  3. Patience. Patience with them, patience with yourself. A huge skill is to pause before reacting. Even if we were not experiencing mental health challenges, parenting can be very hard work. Their immaturity and poor impulse control create all sorts of scenarios that would try the patience of a saint! Of course, we are going to need to get on top of poor behaviour but take your time. Allow anger (theirs and yours) to settle. Get some extra skills from online, books or parenting courses (e.g. Toolbox courses and family coaching from ParentingPlace.nz). Our motto during the tough times: “This, too, shall pass!”

  4. Reducing stress helps them and us.  Routines are wonderful for giving children a sense of security. Patterns and rituals around getting up and getting ready for school, mealtimes, chores, homework and bedtime keep them feeling safe and secure. Even though establishing routines can be hard work at the start, after they are running well they require very little input to keep going. Good routines can reduce our stress wonderfully as well. They can keep family life ticking along even when we are tired or not very well.

  5. Reassure your children you love them. Children can misread our low moods or agitation. They might conclude we do not love them, or even that they are the cause of the problems they are seeing. Leave your kids in no doubt: you really do love them! Say it with words, with your kindness, with your gentle touch and hugs, with your care and attention and with the fact that your eyes light up and smile when you see them.

Tuesday, December 18, 2018
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A CSW works in partnership with the other person on goals leading to a satisfying life. The work entails helping service users reach identified goals and maximise strengths.





EQUIP’S STAFF SAY:

“I LOVE THE CULTURE AT EQUIP.  I HAVE NEVER KNOWN A PLACE WHERE YOU FEEL SO VALUED AND WHERE YOU ARE PUT FIRST.”

“I TOOK THE JOB TO CHANGE OTHER PEOPLES’ LIVES, BUT IT CHANGED MINE.”

WHO IS EQUIP?

We are an independent mental health Not for Profit organisation associated with Windsor Park Baptist Church and have a strong Christian ethos.  With a staff of around 70, we are a values led organisation who truly care about the people we work with and for.  We pride ourselves on our supportive, inclusive culture and our success is making a positive difference in the lives of others

ABOUT THE ROLE:

A CSW works in partnership with the other person on goals leading to a satisfying life. You’ll work autonomously with service users living in the community in the Auckland area. The work entails helping service users reach identified goals and maximise strengths.

Hours:  Mainly between  Monday to Friday with some flexibility required to meet the needs of the service user’s hours which will be negotiated with our Team Leader.

You'll receive a thorough induction and on-going training.  Equip sill support you to commence relevant training (Level 4 Certificate in Mental Health and Well-being), or you will have completed this already.  Higher level relevant qualifications negate this need.  Having advanced skills and qualifications in the field of alcohol and drugs would be an additional advantage.

WHAT WILL I NEED?
  • A genuine passion to work with people, being a good listener and communicator
  • Be computer literate
  • Be a NZ resident or have a valid NZ work visa
  • Full NZ driver licence
  • Be a team player who is self motivated and can work autonomously

APPLICATIONS CLOSE

4pm Tuesday 29th January 2019

apply now

If you have the skills we seek, plus a can do attitude and want to belong to a supportive and engaging team making a real difference in our community, we would love to hear from you!


applications require:

Completed Equip Job Application Form (download an Application Form.) Please quote the reference number OACSW on the application.
Separate Curriculum Vitae
Cover Letter 
Copy of Driver Licence (front & back)
Current Working Visa (if applicable)


Send the above completed forms to:
Email to: 
front.desk@equip.net.nz , or

Personal Delivery to: 
Equip
550 East Coast Road
Mairangi Bay
North Shore , or

Post to: 
Equip
PO Box 65 385
Mairangi Bay
Auckland 0754

Wednesday, December 19, 2018
A CSW works in partnership with the other person on goals leading to a satisfying life. The work entails helping service users reach identified goals and maximise strengths.





EQUIP’S STAFF SAY:

“I LOVE THE CULTURE AT EQUIP.  I HAVE NEVER KNOWN A PLACE WHERE YOU FEEL SO VALUED AND WHERE YOU ARE PUT FIRST.”

“I TOOK THE JOB TO CHANGE OTHER PEOPLES’ LIVES, BUT IT CHANGED MINE.”


WHO IS EQUIP?

We are an independent mental health Not for Profit organisation associated with Windsor Park Baptist Church and have a strong Christian ethos.  With a staff of around 70, we are a values led organisation who truly care about the people we work with and for.  We pride ourselves on our supportive, inclusive culture and our success is making a positive difference in the lives of others

ABOUT THE ROLE:

A CSW works in partnership with the other person on goals leading to a satisfying life. You’ll work autonomously with service users living in the community in the North Shore, West Auckland and Rodney areas. The work entails helping service users reach identified goals and maximise strengths.

Hours: Mainly from Monday to Friday with some flexibility required to meet the needs of the service users.

You’ll receive a thorough induction and on-going training. Equip will support you to commence relevant training (Level 4 Certificate in Mental Health and Well-being), or you will have completed this already. Higher level relevant qualifications negate this need. Having advanced skills and qualifications in the field of alcohol and drugs would be an additional advantage


WHAT WILL I NEED?
  • A genuine passion to work with people, being a good listener and communicator
  • Be computer literate
  • Be a NZ resident or have a valid NZ work visa
  • Full NZ driver licence
  • Be a team player who is self motivated and can work autonomously

APPLICATIONS CLOSE

4pm Saturday 19th January 2019


apply now

If you have the skills we seek, plus a can do attitude and want to belong to a supportive and engaging team making a real difference in our community, we would love to hear from you!


applications require:

Completed Equip Job Application Form (download an Application Form.) Please quote the reference number SH on the application.
Separate Curriculum Vitae
Cover Letter 
Copy of Driver Licence (front & back)
Current Working Visa (if applicable)


Send the above completed forms to:
Email to: 
front.desk@equip.net.nz , or

Personal Delivery to: 
Equip
550 East Coast Road
Mairangi Bay
North Shore , or

Post to: 
Equip
PO Box 65 385
Mairangi Bay
Auckland 0754


Wednesday, December 19, 2018
To give you an idea of what kind of things you may be doing as a Support Worker at Equip, one of our staff has summed up a typical day.

To give you an idea of what kind of things you may be doing as a Support Worker at Equip, one of our staff has summed up a typical day.

A day in the life of a community support worker in Equip’s Packages of Care team
I arrive in the morning, make a coffee, check my e-mails and messages, then follow up on messages that I have received. I then enter any notes from the previous day that I haven’t entered, and phone or text my clients to confirm what time I am meeting with them today.

Today I am heading to Red Beach to support a Package of care client with whom I spend 5 hrs per week, which is broken into 2 visits.
• Check in with client asking how their week has been, what activities have they been doing.
• Review goals and tasks set from the last meeting.
• Do an activity that is working towards their goals. (For example, Goal: I want to learn how to food shop independently – We may go to the supermarket to learn this skill or catch a bus with the client as another step to completing their goal.)
• Do some interactive education (education, skills and strategies on how to deal with depression) and community skills modules.
• Sets tasks to do that are working towards their goals.
• Plan activity and time to meet next. (This is very important to do, as it can save you a lot of time trying to contact the person and organize a time to meet next, then negotiating what you are going to do with them!)

Next I am heading back to head office to meet with a client that is a Community Support Work Client (whom I support for about an hour a week). This client I will do much the same as the first client except keeping in mind that I have only one hour so I generally will follow a similar agenda to the previous meeting. This time though, we are going to be going through some interactive education about Obsessive Compulsive Disorder with their family.

I have a lunch break, before heading to my next client that needs support with WINZ, followed by a review meeting with the treatment team.

Then I am heading back to the office to complete my admin, time sheets for the day, write notes about the meeting with clients what was achieved and the plan for the next meeting, and follow up on phone messages and e-mails.

What I love about this job is that no two days are the same!

A day in the life of a community support worker in the Older Adults Team
Working with Older Adults in Mental Health can be different in the sense that a physical disability can accompany a mental problem or bring about a mental illness. For example, if someone is suffering from a major depressive disorder, this may have been brought about because of a diagnosis with Parkinson Disease which can affect their mobility, their relationships, in fact all facets of their daily life. In addition, Dementia can cause a person to feel frightened, isolated and they can lose their will to live. Suicide rates can be high among the older adult population.

At Equip we try to help Older Adults to maintain their independence, accept and deal with their disabilities and put support services in place that are needed. Sometimes we take them out for an hour or two, help them to recreate old interests or to find new ones. It is about helping them to find value in their lives, and valuing the skills and wisdom they have to share with others.



Wednesday, August 29, 2018
Often we are just too hard on ourselves. It is time to be kind to yourself. Find out how self compassionate you are!
Often we are just too hard on ourselves. Go to this excellent website and do the Self Compassion assessment here. Be kind to yourself today!

Thursday, February 22, 2018
Check out the latest events here! Come connect with us.
Saturday, May 09, 2015
Helping to cope with depression – there is a way through

Information on Depression
Get Self-Help information and strategies from www.depression.org.nz

Feeling Depressed?
Hear How Young Kiwis Got Through Depression. www.thelowdown.co.nz

Saturday, May 09, 2015
"Equip visits have built up my confidence again."
I look forward to my Community Support Worker (CSW)’s visits and the company. More often than not, we have had fine weather to go out and sit in the park. This has built up my confidence to get out and back into the community once more. One of the things that has given me great joy and a deep, deep feeling of peace within me is going back to church. Once I expressed this was something I would like to do again, my CSW got Carol to come and visit. Carol found a local church that holds a weekly communion service on a Wednesday. This has meant a lot to me. A bonus good cup of coffee and homemade cake afterward gives me the opportunity to get to know one or two of the other folk there. I am very grateful to Equip for this opportunity and their visits have meant so much to me.


Friday, May 08, 2015
"Kevin’s family love having him closer to them again."

When Kevin first came to Equip he didn’t really have any social contacts and this wasn’t helped by him having no phone or means of communication. Kevin’s first goal was to get a cell phone which he has now and is used to keep in contact with his family.

Over time Kevin was supported by Equip staff to get out of the house and have social contact with his family as he was very isolated living on his own and having no friends... He joined a social group which helped him have some contacts with people who had common interests to himself and it gave him somewhere to go. This led to Kevin going out to visit his friends down the road and had a few visits with his family which he really enjoyed. He said it made him feel really good spending time with family but he didn’t think they would want him to live with them.

Kevin had stated in the past that he wanted to get back into his old work as a builder but hadn’t made any steps towards this. During the visit to his family home he did some building work and discovered how much he had enjoyed doing it. It made him realize that he was capable of working again. Kevin and his support worker problem solved ways to look for and get building work. He ended up finding a job through a friend which he wasn’t needed for in the end but he was really happy about the prospect of getting work and an income.

Kevin’s suppork worker spoke on and off with Kevin’s family members and let them know how much Kevin enjoyed going to their place and spending time with them. In fact Kevin ended up spending Christmas with his famliy whereas normally he would be on his own.

Just recently, Kevin decided to move in with family and is enjoying greater connection with them and his confidence had grown to a point where he was able to make the relocation arrangements himself. Kevin’s family say they love having him closer to them again and are supporting his efforts to get permanent work.




Friday, May 08, 2015
"A lot of situations and things puzzled me."
Hi, I’m Vaoesea and I grew up in Hastings. Just before I went to College I moved with my family to West Auckland and completed my schooling there. When I finished schooling I went to University but struggled and did not cope. I also seemed to be unable to get a job, had no friends, no direction and was shy and lacking in confidence. And for some reason I was angry all the time. Something was not quite right but I didn’t know what it was. I ended up seeing a Psychiatrist and despite this was having trouble communicating with my family. I would head off for long walks in the bush and one night spent the whole night sitting under a tree in the Waitakeres.

I guess if I was to describe how I felt at the time, it was that I was angry a lot and also I started to experience a sensation of dreaming while I was awake. The things I dreamed about felt real but over time I got to realise that they weren’t. A lot of situations and things puzzled me.

This all came to a head one day when I had an argument with my mother and went to the Police to make a complaint against her. The Police got a Doctor to come and check me out. I was taken in a Police car to an inpatient mental health unit, put in isolation and strip searched. It was very degrading and frightening. And I struggled with being separated from family.

After a period of time I came out of the hospital and went back home. I became fascinated and absorbed by the war in Kuwait.

Eventually I moved into what was called a ‘therapeutic community’ in the city where I lived in a big house with a number of other people who had mental health issues. While there I got my first job in a lunch bar in Queen Street but had to leave it because it did not work out.

I left the community and followed my boyfriend up to Whangarei but unfortunately we broke up soon after and my Mother and brother had to come up and get me and I was once again admitted to an inpatient unit for a time. It was during that second stay that I got offered some therapy which I found calming and helpful.

After leaving the unit I went back to the therapeutic community and learnt how to be a reliable flatmate, budget and socialise.

Eventually, I got the chance to move into a three bedroom flat with two other people who received support from a mental health support service. This time things went better. I got a cleaning job which I seemed to manage quite well and was able to hold on to.

Things change a lot in mental health services but a change that was good for me was that the flat we were in became available for us to rent independently. We all got our names on the lease and each of us received support from Equip. This was the first time in 15 years that I felt I had some real independence. I got well enough to not need support at all.

When I heard about the Client Advisor role coming up at Equip I was encouraged by others to apply. Whilst I did not think I probably had the confidence or skills to do the role something urged me to give it a go.

I have been in that role for five years and have been stretched and learnt a lot. Because my job is on the North Shore I decided to move there and most weekends I spend with my brother at his place.

Who would have thought that the University drop out is now advising an organisation with 60 staff and 220 clients how to put the person at the centre of their services and giving that service feedback from service users as to what is working and what is not.

Who knows what else I can do – it will be exciting to find out.


Friday, May 08, 2015
"Equip gave me hope and a sense of progress when I had none"
It was hard waiting for such a long time in hospital but Equip staff really gave me and my mum hope that one day I would get out and have my own flat and a job.  They helped me work on my CV and confidence skills and while the waiting for somewhere to live took awhile, I worked on these things.  My mum was involved too and she offered me a lot of support and she and Equip worked together.  Through Equip I got to see a Dietician every week and she helped me to lose weight and get fit.

I am out of hospital now and whilst I am in supported accommodation I know that eventually I will get my own flat and a job.

Equip gave me hope and a sense of progress when I had none.

Tim


Friday, May 08, 2015