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Published Thursday 19 Apr 2018

The changing face of local communities is being increasingly reflected by those working to support people with mental health needs.

As greater Wellington region communities continue to become more diverse and multicultural, so too do the region’s Mental Health, Addictions and Intellectual Disability Service (MHAIDS) nurses.

“People from different backgrounds and cultures view and experience mental health issues and treatments differently and, so, have different needs,” said MHAIDS general manager Nigel Fairley.

“If we are to properly support them, we must understand that – which is why it is so important to build an ethnically diverse workforce that is conscious of people’s cultures and needs.”

Currently, 35 graduate registered nurses are undertaking MHAIDS’ New Entry to Specialist Practice (NESP) programme, which equips and supports them to specialise in mental health, addictions and intellectual disability.

The graduates come from a range of cultural backgrounds – including Māori, Pasifika, Filipino, New Zealand European, Chinese, South African, and British – making it one of the most diverse groups the programme has seen.

“Nurses are a significant part of our workforce and are vital in the delivery of health services – both in a hospital and community setting. They often work closest with the people we support, and work hard respect and understand their cultures and beliefs.

“The more we can nurture an ethnically diverse and culturally-conscious staff – including nurses, mental health support workers, doctors, therapist and others – the better equipped we will be to continue supporting our ever-changing communities into the future.”

Media contact: Chas Te Runa – 027 230 9571