Rākau Roroa/ Tall Trees
The Lived Experience Leaders Initiative
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the Rākau Roroa initiative?
Rākau Roroa is a national initiative funded by the Health Promotion Agency (HPA) and delivered by Changing Minds.
This initiative aims to create and maintain a network of confident, competent and capable leaders, who are prominent and visible in our local and national communities and earn public respect by being credible, authentic and honest about their mental health struggles and strengths.
Is this a Like Minds, Like Mine initiative or a National Depression Initiative?
It supports both programmes.
Rākau Roroa is being created to support the aims and messaging of both the Like Minds, Like Mine and National Depression Initiative (NDI) programmes. This initiative supports the aims of both programmes – ending stigma and discrimination and encouraging conversations to increase support and help-seeking. Leaders will be able to identify with one or both programmes and will be supported to use their experiential wisdom to counter discrimination and encourage help-seeking as part of the activities they engage in.
Why the name Rākau Roroa?
In discussions with Changing Minds Kaumātua (Ngāti Whātua) and our Māori partners, the name Rākau Roroa emerged which roughly translates as Tall Trees.
This has connotations of the strength, resilience and leadership of people with lived experience rising from the roots to the branches of our whenua connecting and supporting one another to grow.
It also helps to name the various stages of the project and reflect progression and growth beyond the current contract scope, for example;
Will this initiative be a repeat of past work like the “Speakers Bureau”?
New Zealand’s Lived Experience movement has a rich and vibrant history of initiatives such as the “Speakers Bureau”, “Speak Your Mind” and “First Voices”.
We are learning from the magic of the past – from the strengths as well as the weaknesses. The “Speakers Bureau” is just one of the incarnations we are looking at for what worked well and where we can improve.
The Rākau Roroa initiative, however, is much broader than public-speaking. Providing more opportunities for people from all walks of life and industries who have a lived experience to use their wisdom and the wisdom of others to address discrimination and encourage helping-seeking in their communities, locally, culturally or demographically.
The initiative will identify people with existing skills, connections and project ideas and provide them with the right knowledge, messages and support to counter discrimination and encourage help-seeking within their field of interest.
How does this initiative fit in with “First Voices”?
In 2015, Peerzone, Kites and Mind and Body co-developed a pilot training for Like Minds, Like Mine providers called “First Voices”. This pilot was well received and the evidence gathered from participants suggested that the training helped those working on the Like Minds, Like Mine programme feel confident and competent in using the wisdom of their experience to carry out their community projects.
As this intellectual property was created for the Like Minds, Like Mine programme, and is owned by HPA, we will be able to learn from and build upon the core competencies of “First Voices” amongst other previous Like Minds, Like Mine and NDI training resources to develop the training components of the Rākau Roroa initiative.
Being able to use the learnings from “First Voices” and other evidence based programmes will ensure we don’t re-invent the wheel, but refer to, learn from and refine, taking into consideration the wider target audiences and activities of our lived experience leaders.
How will this initiative link to other anti-stigma and discrimination projects?
Anti-stigma and discrimination education and community projects will be funded by one of two new funds. A small grants fund for local community events and initiatives will be set up early in 2018. It is envisioned that trained lived experience leaders will be involved in education and community activity that is managed by other providers.
How will Rākau Roroa maintain a ‘grassroots’ focus and ensure grassroots voices are key drivers?
The Rākau Roroa initiative aims to include people with lived experience of mental distress from many walks of life, not just those already working in peer roles.
Of key importance will be the recruitment, support and training processes that participants are involved in as they become part of the Rākau Roroa whānau.
To make this as ‘grassroots’ focused as possible, the HPA and Changing Minds have committed to a co-design process to set up these three fundamental processes.
What is Co-design?
Co-design reflects a fundamental change in traditional service design, and is a new approach to programme design.
Rather than the traditional model of the funder designing the programme in isolation from the communities in which it will be delivered, co-design ensures that fundamental processes are designed by those at grassroots level.
Changing Minds and HPA are committed to ensuring the co-design philosophy is maintained for design, development and improvement throughout the duration of the initiative.
Changing Minds will work in partnership with Subject Matter Experts to ensure that communication reach is as extensive as possible to include grassroots consumers through a transparent process where people from our extended networks may watch the process online, and feed into it at any point, while we, the programme coordinators, ensure that progress is always forward-moving.
Does the Rākau Roroa initiative include addictions?
People with addictions are not specifically a priority area for the Like Minds, Like Mine and National Depression Initiative programmes.
In saying that, we are aware that mental health and addictions often do not sit as separate experiences and the programme will be inclusive.
There will be opportunities over the duration of the project to provide HPA with sector information which identifies gaps and opportunities for the future.
Rākau Roroa Faciliators/Mentors/Tall Trees questions:
1. What is the course outline?
The course is comprised of 7 modules – exploring stigma, discrimination, and wellbeing.
2. What are the expected outcomes from the programme? E.g. How will those trained use the new skills?
We are hoping that most applicants will bring their own ideas of how to apply these skills in their own communities using the skills and passions they bring to the programme. Be it as a public speaker, an artist, a musician, a workplace policy maker or anything! It is not for us to dictate what you do with your knowledge, only that you have the confidence and skills to be grounded in the core messages based on best practice that reduce stigma and discrimination and increase help seeking and inclusion.
Some may in the future go into a pool of people that Like Minds, Like Mine and the National Depression Initiative call on to represent us in the media, and some may go on to support others, but most will use their knowledge and be supported to run the projects they want to.
3. Is the course designed to just offer new skills and set up a network for those trained or is there an ongoing expectation that there will be ongoing work in our communities?
Yes (We hope so – but that work is up to the participant and what they want to do, their mentor can guide them and there may be project funding they can apply for in the future)
If so, will this work be organised through Rākau Roroa and will the person therefore become an employee and/or contracted?
No – outside the roles of Facilitator, mentor or Tall Tree (trainee/participant/champion)
4. Will there be ongoing remuneration available for the ongoing work people do?
No, however they will have more information and mentoring around applying for grants and funding relevant to their own projects, and if they continue on to do work on behalf of Rākau Roroa, NDI or LMLM they will be remunerated.
5. What are the implications around conflicts of interest for someone who is already employed in a Peer organisation that is most likely funded by the DHB? Especially around the expectations of ongoing work? And also promoting a paradigm shift in mental health services?
We see an alignment and no real conflicts of interest, particularly for people in peer positions. They may pass on their knowledge to help the peer relationship for example, and it contributes to the consumer paradigm-shift movement by enabling lived experience leaders to come together and speak with one voice nationally. We do ask participants however to fill out a conflict of interest disclosure and speak to their own employers about the programme which we feel will add to their professional development.
How do I get involved?
Expressions of interest for Rākau Roroa are open now! You can apply to be a part of this new mental health initiative. More info and to apply go to – www.changingminds.org.nz/rakauroroa
Contact the Rākau Roroa team at email@example.com