New project helping to protect mental health of Queenstown Lakes communities.

CTS SWT Photo 1
  • Wednesday, 4 August 2021

Community Trust South has recently given $25,000 to support an innovative mental health education pilot project that is supporting some of the Queenstown communities most hard hit by Covid.

The GoodYarn community pilot is based on an evidence-based, peer-delivered, mental health literacy programme that enables people to talk about mental health. The programme features interactive 3 hour workshops designed to educate people about mental health, reduce stigma, fears and barriers to accessing support, and empower people to look after their own mental health and to talk to others they are concerned about.

Developed in 2014 for the rural sector, the GoodYarn model focuses on upskilling everyday people within a community, or workplace to then deliver GoodYarn onto their peers and colleagues. Four priority groups have been identified for the first phase of the programme: new parents, the Brazilian and Filipino communities, and the small business community.  Facilitators are recruited from within the priority groups and trained to deliver the GoodYarn programme back to the community group as a peer facilitator, to deliver the workshops in their own language and in settings and times that best suit that community.

Joyce Nagal, who is one of the Filipino facilitators, has had good feedback from her community about the initial workshops:  “I have had lots of phone calls and messages, good feedback and lots of interest and questions about mental health and the GoodYarn workshop.  I have a feeling a lot will be interested to attend in the next few months.  I really feel we are doing something good to our community!” 

Now that the first workshops are underway, 96% of attendees over the last month agreed the training increased knowledge of mental health & wellbeing, while all attendees stated they would recommend the workshop to others.

The pilot is being delivered by the Southern Wellbeing Trust, a new charitable trust established post Covid to support the health and wellbeing of southern communities. Anna Dorsey and Tim Rigg co-founders of Southern Wellbeing Trust identified that post Covid the long-term mental health and wellbeing of their community would put significant pressure on local health services.  Their pilot programme will see them deliver GoodYarn to the Wakatipu community through its partnership with the Good Programmes Trust.  With support from Community Trust South and other funders, workshops will be delivered to the Wakatipu community throughout 2021 and into 2022.

“By targeting priority groups most in need we can ensure the training is reaching the most vulnerable people first, people who may not be engaging with traditional support services.  - Initial feedback has been overwhelmingly positive with peer facilitators identified, trained and workshops already underway.  The next step is to formalise a sustainable delivery model the for the GoodYarn community programme that will enable wider community participation.” Anna Dorsey, Southern Wellbeing Trust

“Since Covid, Community Trust South has seen an increase in the demand for funding within those communities most affected such as the Wakatipu area.  Mental health and wellbeing have been highlighted as a particular area of concern as the region adapts to the new normal and the uncertainty around international visitors. Southern Wellbeing Trust introducing the GoodYarn programme into the region is a good practical way to start and the Trust supports this programme building resilience within the community over the next year.”  Jackie Flutey, General Manager, Community Trust South

Photo – Dianne Williams – Grants Manager, Community Trust South, Joyce Nagal - Filipino GoodYarn Facilitator, Anna Dorsey - General Manager, Southern Wellbeing Trust.