First, let me say, I have really enjoyed working at Changing Minds. In particular, I love the importance that Changing Minds places on increasing the voices of tangata whaiora/consumers/service users/people, on self-determination and ethical relationships. We are all more than categories, more than diagnoses; we are complex and whole human beings who live in relationship to the world around us, including other human beings, animals, and the land.
Second, I would like to say goodbye to all of our forum attendees, especially our Mahi Tahi, because organising and faciliting the forums was a big part of my job at Changing Minds. I really enjoyed getting to know all of you better, and I hope whoever takes over my role or runs future forums will continue to appreciate the knowledge and generosity that our forum attendees bring every time.
I have learnt a lot from you, especially when we were discussing the topic of Partnership, and subsequently when I was writing that report and getting lots of feedback from valuable people. Changing Minds could not do the work we do without your input, and I hope you will continue to support the organisation by coming along to our various events.
Third, I would like to thank the other staff members. Campbell, Tina and Erin have been excellent to work with, and I am very grateful to them for their energy, dedication to the cause, and ongoing support as a team. Thank you for being so awesome. Also we now have Ainslie as our new manager, and I have no doubt she will keep the Changing Minds ship on track for exciting and productive new horizons.
I will still be working in the mental health/addictions sector, as a “Rainbow Community Liaison and Trainer” at Affinity Services. So don’t worry, you’ll still see me around! And I will continue to support the work of Changing Minds, because I really believe in our vision and kaupapa.
I have great faith in our members, our staff, and our Board. I really believe that mental health and addictions, as interrelated sectors, need to be working with a social justice and human rights framework. Issues like colonisation, Te Tiriti, poverty, gender, sexuality, disability, capitalism – all of these things are related, and all of them affect our experiences of mental health and addiction. We need to get better at working together across these sectors.
Working at Changing Minds has been enriching and grounding for me. I know I’ll miss being part of such a cool and politically active organisation. It’s not often that I get a chance to work for an organisation that is so closely aligned with my own political values, and I have really appreciated that opportunity. Making social and political change within and beyond the health sectors is so crucial for all of our collective wellbeing.
In solidarity and respect,