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Our Youth: The Leaders of Tomorrow

Youth Health Newsletter


Latest Trends in Youth Health and Wellbeing


Vol 17, Issue 1, Feb 2016

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Counties Manukau Children's Team

Counties Manukau Children’s Team Launching in March

Significant changes are underway that will make a fundamental difference to how we identify, protect and support our vulnerable children.

Right now a wide variety of skilled and experienced people are working hard, supporting vulnerable families to gain resilience, but they're often working independently, and without knowing what good work others are doing around the same children. That’s where the Children’s Team approach comes in.

The Children’s Team approach provides the opportunity for government agencies, iwi and non-government organisations to bring together their existing services for vulnerable children into one personalised plan for each child and their family/whānau. Professionals like health workers, early childhood educators, primary and secondary teachers, social workers, counsellors will be able to share important information which will help keep children safe.

One Child. One Plan.
An estimated twenty thousand vulnerable children live in New Zealand. These families have complex, unmet needs that need to be addressed.

Through the Children’s Team approach, one professional is selected, based on their connection to the whānau, or their skills which match the needs of the family. With the family, they develop a single plan to support the child. They also coordinate other service providers, working together to give the family the support they need.

The work has already begun. Community services are already referring children they’re concerned about to Children’s Teams in Whangarei, Hamilton, Tairāwhiti, Eastern Bay of Plenty, Rotorua, Whanganui, Horowhenua/ Ōtaki, Marlborough and Canterbury.

In Counties Manukau, 60 lead professionals are preparing for these roles, starting in Manurewa, Papakura and Clendon.

According to Counties Manukau Director, Liz Thomas "This work is so important. For too long we've been working with a siloed mentality. It's time now that we genuinely work together. When we are working alongside whānau, with the child at the centre, and sharing what all we're doing - and are held accountable - we will make a difference."

Children’s Teams represent a shift in thinking, a new approach that makes it easier for practitioners and professionals to work together for each child.

This is not a new service. National Children’s Director Sue Mackwell says, “This is a joint approach. No single agency alone can protect vulnerable children. Nor can all the issues be addressed from one point of view. All the appropriate agencies work together with the lead professional, who puts the child at the centre of everything they do.”

“Once we have evidence the child is consistently safe and thriving, and their whānau is becoming more resilient - making meaningful changes - we develop a plan for them to exit from the Children’s Team, with ongoing support if they need it,”.

Working Together
Sue Mackwell, the National Children's Team Director says:  "Working with the Children’s Team approach means there is less fragmentation, less duplication, and much more coordination. All of which goes a long way to improving results for the child."

Counties Manukau Director Liz Thomas agrees. “Instead of government agencies and non-government organisations often working in isolation, Children’s Teams provide the opportunity for professionals and practitioners to genuinely work together implementing an holistic  plan for each child.”

The Counties Manukau Children's Team has already received positive feedback and support from their community. According to Carmel Ellis of Counties Manukau DHB "We're here to make sure we provide the best service to our children, ensure they are protected from harm and neglect, and we're doing this together."

Children’s Teams are part of the Government’s Children’s Action Plan which maps out how the government is working to improve results for vulnerable children and their families and whānau.

For more information on Children’s Teams, visit the Children’s Action Plan website.

For more information on the Counties Manukau Children's Team, email
Hands Together

Children’s Team In Practice

Working together the Hamilton Children's Team were able make a real difference for a local family.

Aroha* is a 12-year-old girl, with six younger brothers and sisters. Aroha's mum is dying of cancer. After a senior teacher referred Aroha to the Children’s Team, it set off a chain reaction of transformative events. A whole range of professionals and community groups wrapped around this highly vulnerable family.

Aroha’s teacher knew her mum was very sick and could see the young girl wasn’t coping, and she was worried things were going to get worse. The teacher knew Aroha’s brothers were acting up in class, and that all the children were coming to school hungry, with no lunch.

Anna*, a social worker who had a good relationship with the children, was asked to act as Lead Professional. Anna brought together a Child’s Action Network of 21 people, all of whom worked together to support this whānau.

According to Anna “We’ve had the village come in, and they’ve raised this family to greater heights.”

“Our work is about being honest, transparent - you tell it like is - which I did. Once we’d established this approach, mum was all for it. She started saying - ‘this is what I need, this is how you can help.’”

The children are now involved with a support group, where professionals help children deal with a family member’s terminal illness. The school now has a structured, well-informed plan to work with. The girls have medication available, lunches are provided and a learning and behaviour teacher has been assigned to one of the boys.

Things improved on the home front too, the Lead Professional advocated on behalf of the mother, and Housing NZ found they were eligible for a four bedroom house.

Anna says working together means she is able to support these children in a tangible way. “Now, if the kids fall down, it’s picked up straight away, I get to know straight away - not next week - straight away.”
*names changed. Case study shared with permission of Sonja De Friez of Counties Manukau Children’s Team
POD Logo

Helping Young People End Mental Illness Discrimination

Young people are key to of tackling mental illness discrimination. POD supports them to achieve this.

Many New Zealand young people / rangatahi experience mental illness. However, the reality for many young people is that mental illness is not something that is talked about or shared.

Supporting young people to address this issue, the Mental Health Foundation as launched new project, called "Point Of Difference", or POD. The project aims to empower young New Zealanders to end the discrimination and negative stigma around mental illness.

POD supports young people aged 17–24 who have a creative idea or project that can help end the discrimination young people with mental health issues face. The incubator programme provides participates with workshops, support and leadership opportunities to turn their ideas into reality. Young people can apply for POD as an individual, or as part of a group.

Applications for the first POD close on 4 March, with further intakes in June 2016 and February 2017. To find out more and to apply, visit
GPS Conference 21-22 April - Growing Pasifika Solutions for Out Young People
APAC Forum 12-14 Sept 2016

Is Gambling a Problem for
New Zealand Young People?

Gambling and problem gambling behaviours may be effecting New Zealand young people.

Recent published research from the Youth 12 study of New Zealand secondary school students has found that nearly one-quarter of students have gambled in the last year, with  around 1 in 10 young people indicating signs of problem gambling, such as gambling to forget about things and gambling several times a week.

Problem gambling was more likely to take place amongst male students, Māori, Pacific and Asian students, students living in deprived areas, and sexual minority youth.

According to the authors these findings should raise some concerns for organsiations, families and communities supporting youth. They found that while family could be a protective factor, preventing problem gambling, exposure to adult gambling behaviours were associated with increased risk for young people, indicating the need address gambling within the context of the whole family/whānau.

Young people who reported problem gambling behaviours were more also more likely to experience mental health concerns, or other addictions or risky behaviours.

Finally, the study found that young people with more accepting attitudes towards gambling had more problem behaviours.

These results emphases the need for New Zealand communities to do more to encourage healthy attitudes and behaviours towards gambling. The attitudes of parents, peers and society at large all have an impact on young people attitudes toward gambling.

Host responsibilities also needed to be addressed, with nearly 10% of young people reporting access to Casinos, TAB and other venues with age related restrictions.

For more information please visit the Werry Centre website
Parris Goebel

Parris Goebel Wants
Counties Manukau Smokefree

Award winning dancer, choreographer and the face of Justin Beiber's 'Sorry' music video, Parris Goebel has teamed up with CM Health to encourage visitors and patients to stop smoking outside our hospitals.

Parris is proud to call South Auckland home and she is determined to see her community smokefree. Her passion for dancing means that she knows how important it is to keep her body, and especially her lungs, healthy. She hopes that people in the community will follow suit when around the hospital grounds.

"I don't want to walk in someone else's dirty smoke, especially not outside the hospital!"

Have you got a good idea to encourage staff, patients or visitors to stop smoking on hospital grounds? Share your ideas and you will be in the draw to win an iPad Mini. Submit your ideas by emailing Manukau Courier

App Supports Understanding of Mental Illness

New Zealand architecture and design graduate Sarah Moktar is using her skills in technology to explore one of the more severe and less understood experiences of mental distress - hearing voices.

Sarah was inspired and motivated by her older sister’s diagnosis of schizophrenia. She decided to develop a device that could be used in everyday environments, simulating the experience of hearing voices.

Known as Empathear, this app provides family and friends an opportunity to experience their own reaction to hearing voices.  Seeing how their own behaviour might be affected, helps people understand the daily challenges their family members face – and their reactions.

Supported by a 2013 Changing Minds Mental Blocks grant, Empathear was initially launched as a wearable scarf with speakers. Thanks to additional funding from Supporting Families in Mental Illness (SFMI), Empathear has morphed into an interactive app for smart phones and tablets.

Sarah fine-tuned Empathear by having four participants from Nelson test the app. All were siblings of someone who hears voices.

Their feedback emphasised the most difficult activities were concentrating, talking to people, and responding appropriately while the voices were constantly competing for their attention.

Everyone reported a shift in empathy for their affected brother or sister and the experience left them with positive feelings about family bonding.

“There is no doubt Empathear allows people to gain greater insight,” Sarah says. “In my own life, I understand and respect my sister better. I have more patience and feel we are closer because of it.”

Sarah hopes that when Empathear is released in 2016, it will give people a close-to-accurate experience of hearing voices.

She believes that apps such as Empathear, and other new technologies, offer a unique way of breaking down the barriers and misconceptions surrounding mental illness. “After all, in many other areas of people’s lives being different is something to be celebrated!” she says.
Rotorua Library and Children's Health Hub

Library and Children's
Health Hub Launched

Construction on a New Zealand-first library and child health hub in Rotorua could get underway in July 2016.

The proposed project, developed in partnership with Lakes District Health Board (DHB) and Rotorua Lakes Council, aims to support Rotorua’s children, whānau and wider community.

“Children’s health is a concept of wellness. (A hub) can deal with the child and the whole family,” said Lakes DHB chief executive Ron Dunham.

“This (hub) would bring all the services together to treat the whole child, not just one part,” he said.

According to Mr Dunham the library and child health hub would not just be about treatment, but about health literary for parents and children which is a very important driver for the health sector. “We are very excited about that,”

The library and child health hub would  allow for different health professionals to be available on site, instead of children and their family members having to go to separate appointments at different locations.

The centre will enable health professionals and other government agencies meet the needs of patients and their families more efficiently, in the one place.

For more information visit the Rotorua Lakes Council website.

Join Our Team!

Kidz First Centre for Youth Heath are looking for an awesome Senior Registered Nurse to lead our team!

As our Charge Nurse Manager you will lead a multidiciplinary team of enthusiastic staff who are dedicated to supporting the needs of young people in Counties Manukau. This is a great opportunity for anyone who wants to make a difference for youth health and wellbeing.

For more information visit Kiwi Health Jobs or Counties Manukau Health website.
Turning Point: The NZ Educators' Neuroscience Conference

Including keynote by Counties Manukau Health's own Ron Philips

Preventing Youth Suicide

Getting Help:
Preventing Youth Suicide

While all suicide is a terrible tragedy, the burden of suicide rests heavily on youth, as well as people from Māori, Pacific and queer/trans* cultures and communities.

The good news is that organisations like Mental Health Foundation and Le Va have launched a range of resources, supporting young people, their family/whānau and communities to understand and support young people who may be feeling suicidal.

B.R.A.V.E. Video

B.R.A.V.E. – in this video Pacific young people talk directly to adults about strategies they can use to help

Takatāpui: Part of the Whānau

Takatapui: Part of the whānau – advice for queer and trans* Māori and their whānau, helping them to understand many aspects of their culture. Also available in a brochure.

Tihei Mauri Ora: Supporting whānau through suicidal distress - provides information and suggestions for whānau Māori about how to support people who might be distressed or in suicidal crisis, and those who are recovering from feeling suicidal.

Are you worried someone is thinking of suicide? - guides families, whānau and friends to identify warning signs, know who is most at risk and find the right help and support
If you need someone to talk to call the Suicide Helpline 0508 828 865 (0508 TAUTOKO).
If you are concerned for yourself or someone else’s safety, call 111
World Indigenous Suicide Prevention Conference - 1-3 June 2016, Rotorua New Zealand

Education and Training 2016

The Youth Health Workshops provide practical programmes to enhance professional skills when working with young people in clinical and community settings.
The HEEADSSS Assessment:    8 Mar   7 Apr   28 Jun   19 Jul   8 Sep
An one day introduction to clinical practice in youth health including: communication and engagement in youth health and using the HEEADSSS assessment model. 
Fee: $75  (Free for CMDHB and ADHB Staff).
Who should attend?  Anyone working with young people.

What Comes After HEADSSS?:     10 May   20 Sep
This one day course gives an introduction to intervention skills when working with young people such as problem solving, motivational interviewing and discussing principles of behaviour change in young people.
Fee: $75  (Free for CMDHB and ADHB Staff). 
Who should attend?  Those who have completed the HEeADSSS Assessment training.

For bookings or further information please contact the
Centre for Youth Health
Phone: (09) 261 2272            Fax: (09) 261 2273

New In The Library

Mindful Motherhood by Cassandra Vieten
The Mental Health Handbook by Trevor Powell
A Malu I ‘Aiga, E Malu Fo’i I Fafo: Protection For The Family, Protection For All by Ministry for Women
Easier Said Than Done: Why We Struggle With Healthy Behviours And What To Do About It by Nathalie Spencer
Reducing Teen Substance Misuse: What Really Works by Trust for America's Health
A Guide To Talking Therapies in New Zealand by Te Pou
For information on these and additional resources please contact

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