Source: MIL-OSI Submissions
Source: Changing Minds
We are asking for help to increase awareness of our free, online, nationwide wellbeing sessions: Whakatau Mai I The Wellbeing Sessions, delivered by Changing Minds and supported by the Ministry of Health.
We offer 20+ wellbeing sessions a week that are open to anyone aged over 18 years in NZ. We would love to be able to spread the word more widely, so more people can benefit from attending. We are a not-for-profit organisation, and like many others in our sector we note that the current levels of uncertainty are increasing calls to mental health services such as 1737 and beyond.
Unemployment, financial insecurity, increasing anxiety, depression and loneliness are increasingly impacting people nationwide. Those in active recovery from mental health concerns or addiction may also be further impacted by the current restrictions and isolation from services they are used to accessing on a face-to-face basis.
These sessions are a way to meet real people in real time, safely from wherever people are in the country, from the comfort of their own space. We have responded to the current Level 3 restrictions by introducing four Family-Friendly sessions a week so parents or caregivers with children at home can do sessions together – The Creative Playground (art) and Movement Journeys (for families).
We warmly invite yourselves or someone on your team to join us for a session and give it a try. If you feel it’s something your readers would want to know about, we would greatly appreciate your support in helping us spread the word.
Our CEO, Taimi Allan and our Project Lead, Fiona Clapham Howard are both available for comment – please let me know if you’d like to connect with them.
Jodie – 021 025 111 05
Whakatau Mai I The Wellbeing Sessions are delivered by Changing Minds, a mental health and addictions advocacy organisation. The Whakatau Mai sessions are free, thanks to funding from the Ministry of Health as part of the government’s Covid-19 Recovery Package. It’s anticipated the impacts on mental health and addiction/recovery of Covid-19 will be felt for the next 12-24 months.
The sessions are designed to reduce feeling of isolation, increase connections, encourage sharing, learning and discussion, and support people to take the time for their own wellbeing by trying something new. Some sessions go deep – identifying as LGBTQIA+, discussing dependency or addiction recovery, and anxiety. Others offer something lighter, an opportunity to try something new – Qigong, Art Yoga, Open Mic Poetry nights, Guided Meditation, Journaling and Mindfulness.
Privacy and a Safe Space
The sessions are all held online via a private meeting link on Zoom. Guests can visit the website, register for the sessions they want to attend and will receive a private Zoom link. Privacy is paramount, so guests are reminded at the start of each session not to record or share any content, and to agree to protect the privacy of other guests, so we can create a safe space to share, learn and connect.
Each session is supported by a Support Member – someone who is instantly available to anyone who needs to talk, or who may be in distress.
All sessions are led by a Lived-Experience facilitator – meaning each person taking the sessions has personal experience with the theme. This supports a non-judgemental, inclusive and safe space in each session, as facilitators are open about their experiences. This encourages participants to feel welcome, included and a sense of belonging – they’ve found a safe space where they can bring their whole selves along, with a group of people who ‘get it’.
Sessions offered are listed on our website, but include:
– Meditation and Journaling
– Support groups
– Rainbow LGBTQIA+ community
– Fitness (no equipment needed)
– Guided Meditation
– PLUS… FAMILY-FRIENDLY sessions available in Levels 3 & 4
Feedback survey data from June to August has been incredibly positive.
– 98% satisfaction rate (Very Good to Excellent)
– 80% said they attended sessions to support their personal wellbeing, 20% to support themselves and someone else
– 99% agreed the session’s content was useful
– 99% said they felt safe during the session
– 98% felt more connected and less isolated after their session
– 99% felt better after attending a session
– 99% would recommend attending a session to friends and family
– “Whakatau Mai has changed my life.”
– “I feel like I am co-creating wellness with others.”
– “A warm, welcoming and calm environment in the midst of external chaos.”
– “It’s nice to be around like-minded, non-judgemental and accepting inclusive people.”
– “A safe place to explore and share feelings.”
– “Everyone felt like crying, crying because they felt understood, it was beautiful and I felt so privileged to be a part of this.”
– “I like being able to participate in a class without leaving home.”
– “It helps when others share their personal experience. You feel you can trust them.”
– “Such a safe place, amazing activities, well planned, interactive and learnt so much about myself over the weeks I’ve attended!”