A big thank you to all of those that attended the Changing Minds Forum in February!
As the staff member in charge of organising the forums, I would like to thank all of our attendees, who contributed so much to the interesting and important conversations we had. I am currently writing a brief but stylish report from the brainstorm and feedback session, which will be brought back and shared with our forum attendees at our next forum. (The date for which is yet to be finalized.)
I would also like to thank Diane Hewitt for instigating this discussion with our members, as part of her new role as a Consumer/Tangata Whaiora Leader with ADHB and Affinity Services. Diane introduced herself and the other members of her team (Kirsty Fong, Cecelia Faumuina, and Reina Harris) who were unable to attend our forum, and briefly described their roles at ADHB. These include being a pathway for feedback from consumers/tangata whaiora about mental health and addictions services, which was partly why Diane was interested in attending our forum and being part of a group discussion.
Diane also suggested the crucial topic for debate: Partnership. We focused on what we want partnership to look like, from a tangata whaiora perspective, and some people also offered constructive criticism of the mental health and justice systems as they currently stand.
One of the things I found most rewarding about the forum was how many generous suggestions tangata whaiora had about how we would like people to engage with us, which included some specific feedback about tools that could be used. For example, we discussed partnership as an ongoing collaborative relationship, with an emphasis on starting from a strong and open basis of understanding from both parties. Two of the specific tools that could help achieve this were listening and being able to acknowledge when mistakes were made, so that both parties could move forward together.
Key Themes about Partnership
Diane and I facilitated a group brainstorm and discussion, which covered a huge amount of material. It will be impossible to do that discussion justice here, but I will share the report when it is finished.
Some of the key themes included:
- Partnership as collaboration and the need to establish the grounds on which you are working, in the beginning stages of engagement. Being aware of the relationship dynamic during the partnership process.
- Meaningful cultural awareness, especially necessary when working across cultural differences. Moving beyond token use of Te Whare Tapa Wha (Māori health/wellbeing model from Dr Mason Durie) and into a genuine awareness of cultural differences and committment to ongoing learning from both sides. This also included acknowledging cultural frameworks that are not Māori or Pakeha.
- “More than just medication”: Many people felt that they were not given enough information about other treatment options, or about the risks and side effects of medication. People also felt that there should be more genuine openess to non-pharmacuetical interventions.
- Listening as a crucial skill for partnership.
- Different levels of partnership depending on where you are at with recovery/journey: we need to be moving towards a fully collaborative relationship, which is usually not possible in the current system.
- Making mistakes is inevitable on both sides of a partnership. It’s about how we acknowledge the mistakes and work together.
- Te Tiriti o Waitangi: if partnership is about supporting our self-determination/tino rangatiratanga, we need to be considering how Te Tiriti underpins our relationships as tangata whaiora/consumers and staff/providers.
The staff of Changing Minds (Joey, Tina and Campbell) have committed to writing up the notes and brainstorm material from the forum discussion, and will present the report at the next forum. We will try to contact those who put their contact details on the sign-in sheet to ensure that they can return and hear what we have come up with.
We know we cannot completely capture the depth of knowledge that was shared, but we will do our best, and we are grateful for the extensive feedback and generous discussion.
We will send out details of our next forum as soon as we can!