Mental Wellbeing Navigator appointed

Lisa Gear takes on the role of Mental Wellbeing Navigator for the Central Lakes.

A community led report into mental health in our district comes on the back of a new appointment to the role of Mental Wellbeing Navigator for the Central Lakes.

Lisa Gear, a nurse skilled in family support and postnatal care takes on the role following a career in mental health, paediatric and neonatal nursing, and recently with Able Southern Family Support working with families with members with a mental health and/or addiction issue.

“I have seen first-hand the real challenges that some people can experience navigating their way to the services that are available to them. When this position was advertised, I could immediately see the value of it and was keen to make a difference in this area,” said Gear

The Mental Wellbeing Navigator role was established by the Central-Lakes Wellbeing Recovery Group, which formed following the COVID-19 lockdown.

Central-Lakes Wellbeing Recovery Group Chair Adell Cox said the group was excited to have made an appointment to this new role.

“COVID-19 has challenged us all, and Central Lakes has been specifically impacted by the disruption to our economy and international communities. We’ve all needed to work in different ways, and this includes the health and wellbeing sector. We are excited to have someone with Lisa’s experience join us in supporting this part of New Zealand through this challenging time in our history.”

The report released last Thursday by the Wakatipu Mental Health Forum advocates for better access and centralised information about mental health and wellbeing providers, more community education, increased resourcing, and stronger connections.

It details the results of a forum held in Queenstown on November 5, 2020 with the aim of providing a clear community voice to help inform future efforts to support the wellbeing of the Wakatipu community.

The findings of the forum highlight some key challenges:

·        There is a widely held view that local systems are under-resourced to deal with the current and future demands on mental health services. 

·        There is a strong desire for increased access to mental health education.

·        Increased community connection is desired by many people and is the perceived key to fostering and maintaining mental health. 

The forum and report were produced by a local volunteer group of mental health and wellbeing advocates.

 Spokesperson Vanessa Van Uden said that they were united in their concern over the COVID-19-related impacts on locals and wanted to contribute to guiding the wider recovery, resilience and future wellbeing of the Wakatipu community.

 “We wanted to come together to share our thoughts and find a collective voice to highlight the challenges and potential solutions for the community, by the community,” Van Uden said.

 “We were delighted with the turnout to the forum and are very grateful to the participants for their invaluable insights and ideas.”

Read edition 1016 of the Wānaka Sun here.

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