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.

Mental Health in Lockdown

As an essential service, Equip is committed to keeping everyone safe during these challenging times.
Tuesday, June 02, 2020
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There are many things you can do to look after your mental health during times like this










                         Mental Health / Wellbeing Support

Infectious disease outbreaks like coronavirus (COVID-19) can be worrying. This can affect your mental health. But there are many things you can do to look after your mental health during times like this.

How your mental health might be affected

The spread of coronavirus is a new and challenging event. Some people might find it more worrying than others. Try to remember that medical, scientific and public health experts are working hard to contain the virus. Most people’s lives will change in some way over a period of days, weeks or months. But in time, it will pass.

You may notice some of the following:

  • Increased anxiety.
  • Feeling stressed.
  • Finding yourself excessively checking for symptoms, in yourself, or others.
  • Becoming irritable more easily.
  • Feeling insecure or unsettled.
  • Fearing that normal aches and pains might be the virus.
  • Having trouble sleeping.
  • Feeling helpless or a lack of control.
  • Having irrational thoughts.


If you’re taking any prescription medications, make sure you have enough.

How to mind your mental health during this time

Keeping a realistic perspective of the situation based on facts is important. Here are some ways you can do this:


Stay informed but set limits for news and social media

The constant stream of social media updates and news reports about coronavirus could cause you to feel worried. Sometimes it can be difficult to separate facts from rumours. Use trustworthy and reliable sources to get your news. On social media, people may talk about their own worries or beliefs - you don’t need to make them your own. Too much time on social media may increase your worry and levels of anxiety, so consider limiting how much time you spend on social media. If you find the coverage on coronavirus is too intense for you, talk it through with someone close or get support.

Keep up your healthy routines

Your routine may be affected by the coronavirus outbreak in different ways, but during difficult times like this, it’s best if you can keep some structure in your day. It’s important to pay attention to your needs and feelings, especially during times of stress. You may still be able to do some of the things you enjoy and find relaxing. For example, you could try to:

  • exercise regularly, especially walking - you can do this even if you need to self- isolate.
    keep regular sleep routines.
    maintain a healthy, balanced diet.
    avoid excess alcohol.
    practice relaxation techniques such as breathing exercises.
    read a book.
    search for online exercise, concerts, religious services or guided tours.
    improve your mood by doing something creative.


Stay connected to others

During times of stress, friends and families can be a good source of support. It’s important to keep in touch with them and other people in your life. If you need to restrict your movements or self-isolate, try to stay connected to people in other ways, for example:

  • Email.
    Social media.
    Video calls.
    Phone calls.
    Text messages.


Many video calling apps allow you to have video calls with multiple people at the same time. Remember that talking things through with someone can help lessen worry or anxiety. You don't have to appear to be strong or to try to cope with things by yourself.

Talking to children and young people

Involving your children in your plans to manage this situation is important. Try to consider how they might be feeling. Give children and young people the time and space to talk about the outbreak. Share the facts with them in a way that suits their age and temperament, without causing alarm. Talk to your children about coronavirus but try to limit their exposure to news and social media. This is especially important for older children who may be spending more time online; it may be causing anxiety.


Try to anticipate distress and support each other

It is understandable to feel vulnerable or overwhelmed reading or hearing news about the outbreak. Acknowledge these feelings. Remind yourself and others to look after your physical and mental health. If you smoke or drink, try to avoid doing this any more than usual. It won’t help in the long-term.

Don’t make assumptions

Don’t judge people or make assumptions about who is responsible for the spread of the virus. Coronavirus can affect anyone regardless of age, gender, nationality or ethnicity. We’re all in this together.

Phone supports

Face-to-face interaction may be limited during this period, so the following helplines are worth noting:

  • 1737 – Free call or text any time for support from a trained counsellor.
    Lifeline – (0800) 543-354 or text 4357 (HELP).
    Youthline – (0800) 376-633 or text 234.
    Samaritans – (0800) 726-666
    Depression Helpline – (0800) 111-757 or text 4202.
    Windsor Park Christian Counselling Centre – (09) 477-2423 or email counselling@windsorpark.org.nz.


Websites of interest:

 www.mentalhealth.org.nz 

www.equip.net.nz 

www.wplifecare.org.nz




Tuesday, June 02, 2020
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What can you do today to ensure your outlet tap is working well?

What can you do today to ensure your outlet tap is working well?

Tuesday, June 02, 2020
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Which of these may be a prompt for yourself today?









Tuesday, June 02, 2020
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The MOH launched more online support options for people that have a Covid-19 stress perspective.

The Government is making further support available for Kiwis wanting to look after their mental wellbeing as a result of change and uncertainty from COVID-19. 

The three discrete initiatives are: the Mentemia app developed by All Blacks legend Sir John Kirwan; a health journal app called Melon; and an e-therapy programme called Staying on Track.

These tools are funded by the initial $500m COVID-19 response health package, announced by the Minister of Finance prior to the lockdown.

“This is an incredibly tough time for many Kiwis, and we want people to know that they are not alone, and that there is support out there. The tools released today sit alongside the range of Government support on offer,” Health Minister David Clark said.

“We know that sudden change, such as the loss of a job or income, can place real stress on people. Added to that, the pressure of being at home and the isolation that may come with that, means these apps have never been needed more. 

“These three online tools give people practical ways to support their mental wellbeing and I would encourage anyone to take a look at them. 

“The Mentemia app was created by All Blacks legend and long-time mental health advocate Sir John Kirwan, tech entrepreneur Adam Clark, and an expert team of medical advisors. It provides users with practical tips and techniques to help them take control of their mental wellbeing.

“The app was originally aimed to be released just to workplaces but extra funding from the Ministry of Health means it’ll be available for all Kiwis throughout the COVID-19 response.        

“Melon is a second app which provides a health journal, resources and self-awareness tools to help people manage their emotional wellbeing. Melon also provides an online community for New Zealanders to connect and support each other and daily webinars for health and wellbeing.

“The Melon app will also launch additional resources in the next two weeks to specifically support 13 to 24 year-olds. 

“For people who’re experiencing worry and distress, the third support tool launched today is an e-therapy tool called Staying on Track. Its cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT) teaches practical strategies to cope with the stress and disruption to everyday life from COVID-19.

“People will be responding to COVID-19 in different ways and the way we seek help and deal with our mental wellbeing is different for everyone.  Many support systems and services are still available through the lockdown, although they may need to be delivered via phone or video conference.

Last week the Government launched an additional two mental health support programmes Getting Through Together and Sparklers at Home – a set of wellbeing activities and resources for parents to use with children at home.

The Ministry of Health is also working with Mentemia to create content and tools specifically to support front line health workers and government employees in essential services.

Links:

mentemia.com/

melonhealth.com/covid-19

justathought.co.nz/covid19 for Staying on Track

Tuesday, June 02, 2020
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The Waitemata Whanau Collective have put together some simple resources to help you get through this difficult time
The Waitemata Whanau Collective is made up of four specialist Family Violence agencies, Family Action, Man Alive, Kia Tīmata Anō Trust and North Harbour Living without Violence. The Helensville Women & Family Centre have also kindly added to the development of this resource.
They have put together some simple resources to help you get through this difficult time. We are all being asked to stay home, separate ourselves from our normal routines and social groups in order to protect the wider community from the COVID-19 virus.
These are ideas to help you manage stress, support your wellbeing, your relationships and entertain the kids.
We hope you find them useful and wish you and your family well as we all work together to unite to fight the Covid-19 virus

Tuesday, June 02, 2020
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If we "catch ourselves" and not act out our negative feelings, we respect our bubble and maintain healthy relationships within our home.







Tuesday, June 02, 2020
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Nicotine makes it all worse

People with mental health challenges do smoke more than others. Years ago, cigarettes were given out as rewards for patients in in-patient facilities, and doctors thought that smoking helped people with schizophrenia and anxiety. But the smoke has cleared: research shows that smoking actually makes mental health problems worse and interferes with medication.  Getting smoke-free has been proven to improve not just physical health but mental health as well – quitting really does make people happier!

Smokers agree: they nearly all regret starting and really want to stop. They also agree – stopping is hard! Here are some tips:

  • Our mental health problems do not mean we cannot stop; in fact, we have even more reasons to quit. Every support agency and professional we deal with will support us  if we decide to quit.
  • Stopping smoking will make us feel bad before we feel good!  The withdrawal symptoms peak after about two days, but will usually fade away within a couple of weeks. Some experience it worse than others, and some lucky people have no problems at all.  The symptoms can include things like headaches, irritability, sweating, nausea and insomnia… Yay! Just what we need on top of all our other problems! But believe me: it IS worth it! By the way… most of us ex-smokers still have the occasional, fleeting hankering for a smoke… even decades later!

  • If you smoke less than ten cigarettes a day, then you may be able to stop without any help. But nicotine dependency is real and we may need help, especially if we are heavier smokers Your doctor may well be able to help by prescribing something to get you through.

  • The compulsion to smoke comes from nicotine, but also from the emotions and strong habits we build around smoking: e.g. having a smoke in a certain place or situation. Nicotine patches, gum, sprays etc., give you a window of opportunity to change those habits without also having to resist the craving from nicotine withdrawal.

  • Boredom is a key reason we smoke. As well as deciding not to smoke, also make decisions to add to your life things that will be interesting, fun and positive: music, hobbies, exercise, a pet, social activities. The money we save from not buying tobacco (which can be a lot!)  gives us more money to spend on these activities.

  • Get support. Quitline helps in all sorts of ways. 0800 778 778, text 4006, quit.org.nz.

  • Vaping is not harmless, but it has been shown to help some people quit smoking. Do try other methods first though as we might find we have just traded one habit for another expensive one.

  • Don’t give up trying to give up! It is not unusual for smokers to quit and then restart again, sometimes many times.  Nicotine is a hard drug to get clear of.
  • Keep the benefits in mind – Our mind and body will be healthier, it will free up so much money, and it is so much better for our family and even our pets. We will even smell better!



Disclaimer

These blogs are offered with the sincere hope that they will be beneficial to people with mental health challenges, their families and the wider public. However, a big lesson from the history of science is that anyone can be wrong! Therefore, this disclaimer: though written in good faith, the authors and publishers cannot guarantee the accuracy of this content, or its applicability to a particular situation.  Any decisions or course of action taken as a consequence of this content must be entirely the reader’s responsibility.  In no way should this content be used as a basis to contradict or ignore the advice of a medical or mental health professional.

Wednesday, November 27, 2019
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Brain and Body Working Together

The distress experienced by some of our top athletes shows that it is possible to be completely physically healthy and yet completely miserable from a mental health problem. But there really does seem to be a connection between mental and physical health.

Can physical health problems cause mental issues?

Yes! Of course, injuries and infections can mess with our brains directly, but sometimes the stress of being unwell can drag our mental well-being down as well. For example, painful conditions like shingles can lead to a person becoming depressed. Cancer patients often need a lot of psychological support as they go through anxieties and stresses of their illness. Just feeling rotten physically or limited, especially for a long period of time, drags our emotions down as well.

Can mental health problems cause physical health issues?

Again yes, sometimes in ways that are not well understood. For instance, people with schizophrenia have a much higher incidence of Irritable Bowel Syndrome. Schizophrenics are about five times as likely to be heavy smokers, and that has a big impact on their health and, sadly, tends to shorten their life. People with mental health problems sometimes lack the motivation to exercise, eat well and take care of themselves. Sometimes they also lack the money to buy themselves healthier food options.

Can mental health be improved by improving our physical health?

A much louder yes! We are a ‘whole package’ – mind and body interacting together. There can be huge benefits from counselling and medicines, but mental health workers know that sometimes the best improvements come when someone starts walking a few kilometres a day, or playing a sport, or getting on a bike or going to the gym. Do the benefits come from being active rather than just isolated at home? Do they come from the fact we are being socially active and mixing with people? Do they come from the wonderfully good feeling of making progress and taking control of our life? Could the benefits come from the ‘endorphins’ released as we experience the pleasure of physical activity? Or are they due to the fact that our body is stronger and fitter and somehow that makes our brain healthier too? Probably… all of the above!

You wouldn’t normally think of them as being ‘mental health strategies’ but maybe your mood would lift if you got your teeth fixed, or you walked past the burger place and into the veggie shop instead, or went for a walk, or asked your doctor for a ‘green prescription’ to go to a gym, or sold the Playstation and bought a Fit-bit instead, or got yourself the best exercise piece of exercise equipment ever… a dog!

Tuesday, October 29, 2019
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Here are some characteristics of families that provide the best support for people with mental health challenges.
Whānau supports mental health

When we are looking for solutions to mental health problems, we usually think of what medicine a doctor might prescribe or what psychotherapy we might get from a psychologist. These are valuable but families are also hugely important: a well-functioning family environment helps us to sustain good mental health, and can be a critical component in our recovery and coping if we do become unwell.

Here are some characteristics of families that provide the best support for people with mental health challenges.

1. They understand. Disappointment, embarrassment, distress and resentment might be natural responses to the challenging behaviour and moods of a family member who is mentally unwell, but education about mental health can make tough times much more tolerable. If you understand the underlying reasons, it is so much easier to extend grace and patience. Offence turns into sympathy. This is sometimes called a ‘disability perspective’: a clunky term but it means you see their challenging behaviour as symptoms of a health problem rather than as a moral failure or character flaw. Some maturity is required but even children can often grasp this notion when it is explained to them.

2. They stand firm.  A mental health challenge can dominate a family. Parents and partners can become exhausted and children can feel neglected.  Wider whānau can be brilliant in stepping in and providing care for the care-givers, ‘filling gaps’ and giving practical support.

3. Boundaries. All healthy relationships have boundaries – we cannot feel safe without them. Sometimes a person with a mental health problem loses their sensitivity around the normal boundaries that exist within family life, and make excessive demands on time and resources, or be intrusive in their behaviour or neglectful of their obligations. Even with a ‘disability perspective’, it is important for families to keep all their members safe with boundaries that are defined and defended in a firm, fair and friendly way.

4. They care. They keep us motivated, to keep working on recovering our health, and on-track with our therapy and medication. And they notice if our health is taking a dive and can get the help we need. 

5. They are staunch advocates. Family members are usually our most loyal supporters. A person with mental and emotional problems often has to navigate through financial and legal issues, and deal with multiple agencies and medical professionals: family can be so helpful in keeping us from getting lost and overwhelmed. We all know that sometimes to get the best help we need to persist and keep asking – family can do that for us even when we feel exhausted. 

6. The are resilient. Mental unwellness almost guarantees challenges for family life. Sometimes our mental unwellness takes us away from our families for a while; and sometimes families can become wounded.  But, just like bodies and minds, families can heal and recover. Relationships can heal.

7. They love and accept. Everyone needs to feel safe, loved and feel that they belong.   In that environment, most of us thrive and, if we have been unwell, it gives us a great place to recover.



 

Disclaimer

These blogs are offered with the sincere hope that they will be beneficial to people with mental health challenges, their families and the wider public. However, a big lesson from the history of science is that anyone can be wrong! Therefore, this disclaimer: though written in good faith, the authors and publishers cannot guarantee the accuracy of this content, or its applicability to a particular situation.  Any decisions or course of action taken as a consequence of this content must be entirely the reader’s responsibility.  In no way should this content be used as a basis to contradict or ignore the advice of a medical or mental health professional.

 

Tuesday, October 22, 2019
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We are looking for people to join our dynamic team for the awake overnight position to provide support to guests during the hours of 10:30pm – 07:30am on Friday and Saturday nights.
 


Are you a night owl?

Do you have one or two nights a week that you are free?

Are you looking for an opportunity to get experience working in the mental health sector?

Koromiko House is a leading mental health respite service, providing a safe, calm, nurturing and home like environment for up to seven guests, who will stay with us on average for periods of between 4 to 10 days. 

We are looking for a person to join our dynamic team for the awake overnight position to provide support to guests during the hours of 10:30pm – 07:30am on Friday and Saturday nights. You will be the sole team member on shift however there is an on call Team Leader available at all times should you need any extra support.

This role is varied and unique as you will be responding to the needs of the guests staying.  You will need to have a holistic focus and the people skills to support people in their recovery by encouraging good sleep routine, listening and supporting with strategies when they are unable to sleep or distressed, and to respond to any challenging situations as they arise. You will also be completing some basic administration and IT tasks and doing some household tasks to maintain the house cleanliness.



WHO ARE WE LOOKING FOR?

The ideal applicant(s) will be a calm, caring, and conscientious person who works well for extended times by themselves. They will need excellent listening and communication skills and a willingness and interest in supporting people with their recovery.  They will have a person centered approach and align with Equip’s values.

You will need to have or be willing to work toward the Level 4 National Certificate in Health and Wellbeing or have an equivalent qualification. 
Relevant experience in mental health, addictions, or disability work would be an advantage. 
You will need to have NZ residency or a valid NZ work permit 
You’ll receive a thorough induction and on-going training. 
Most importantly, we are looking for a team player with a can do and resilient attitude.

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 professionalism, supportive, inclusive culture and our success in making a positive difference in the lives of others.


OUR VALUES:

We put our faith into action
If we can say ‘yes’ we will
Our people matter


    • MORE INFORMATION
Job Description
Equip's Core Values 

 

APPLICATIONS CLOSE

4pm Monday 22nd June 2020


apply now

If you are looking for a job that provides you with a great team and an opportunity to have a hands-on role supporting others, download an application pack from our website: www.equip.net.nz.  Please quote reference number KOROAN on the application


applications require:

Completed Equip Job Application Form (download an Application Form. ) 
Separate Curriculum Vitae
Cover Letter 
Copy of Driver Licence (front & back)
Copy of photo ID page of passport or NZ full birth certificate
Current Working Visa (if applicable)
Police Vetting form (download here)


Send the above completed forms to:
Email to: 
office@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

Thursday, May 28, 2020
We are looking for a special person with a passion for supporting older adults to become part of our caring and fun team. Is this you?




APPLICATIONS CLOSE

4pm Monday 22nd June 2020

 

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. ) 
Separate Curriculum Vitae
Cover Letter 
Copy of Driver Licence (front & back)
Copy of photo ID page of passport or NZ full birth certificate
Current Working Visa (if applicable)
Police Vetting form (download here)


Send the above completed forms to:
Email to: 
office@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, May 27, 2020
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 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 Monday 22nd June 2020.


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!  Please quote reference number SH on the application.


applications require:

Completed Equip Job Application Form (download an Application Form. ) 
Separate Curriculum Vitae
Cover Letter 
Copy of Driver Licence (front & back)
Copy of photo ID page of passport or NZ full birth certificate
Current Working Visa (if applicable)
Police Vetting form (download here)
Copy of relevant qualifications - Level 4 Mental Health and Addictions or equivalency


Send the above completed forms to:
Email to: 
office@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

Friday, May 22, 2020
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