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Two+ Rethink programme takes off

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People working in education and housing organisations in the North Island will benefit from a free programme which aims to shift attitudes and assumptions about people living with mental health problems and to celebrate inclusion and diversity.

The Two+ Rethink programme is funded through the Health Promotion Agency as part of the Like Minds, Like Mine programme and is delivered by Mind and Body with support from Mahitahi Trust and Vaka Tautua.

Programme delivery lead, Sheree Veysey, says a core aim of the programme is to give people the freedom to look at their own attitudes and assumptions.

“Everyone agrees that stigma and discrimination toward people with mental health issues exists, but nobody really thinks they do it. It’s a huge issue in terms of what happens for people with mental distress over their lifespan, but like an iceberg, the bits that are visible are a small part of the whole.”

Stigma and discrimination and lack of understanding toward people with mental health issues can get in the way of people being able to be open and get the support and inclusion they deserve. Education and housing have been identified as two focus areas where there is great potential to create positive change.

“A great place to start changing society is for us to look in the mirror. We believe that we all need to be on a journey to get better at addressing our unconscious bias and how we relate to others,” says Sheree. “That’s one reason why our programme targets all staff in an organisation, not just frontline teaching or housing staff.”

“One in five Kiwis experience a mental health problem each year, from all walks of life. If we can affect even a millimetre of change in someone’s attitudes or confidence to be there for others, the flow on effects can be huge,” says programme manager Codey Bell.

“A myth that we’re trying to break through the programme is that you need specialist knowledge to be able to be there for people living with mental distress. That’s absolutely not true. We can all do really simple things that make a big difference”.

The programme includes two workshops, as well as consultation services and ongoing access to online resources to support the learning.

Organisations eligible to work with the programme are educational organisations working in secondary, tertiary and alternative education in Wellington, Waikato, Bay of Plenty, Auckland and Northland and social housing providers in the urban areas of Auckland, Wellington, Tauranga and Hamilton.

The programmes are available on a first in, first served basis. If your organisation could benefit, please get in touch: rethink@mindandbody.co.nz or learn more online at www.rethink.org.nz