Summer Issue 10 - January 2020

StevioSummer Issue 10 - January 2020

Guest Editorial: Steve Neale (Workforce Planning Lead, MRMHA)

I am stunned to find myself back at my desk writing this! It seems like only last week I was headed off on my Summer Break - cruising the gorgeous, sun-soaked East Cape beaches in a clapped-out Honda Odyssey, my son by my side, tent in the back and not a care in the world! How could three weeks possibly fly-by like it was only one? I clearly remember that I was heading off for “ages”!

By a strange twist of fate, I was asked to assemble the Midland Region Mental Health and Addiction Summer Newsletter. In some ways a bit of an honour I think – in others quite the challenge! You see, I found myself, on return, with real bad writer’s block. I am tasked with writing a revised Workforce Strategy off the back of our Wānanga, the Inquiry into Mental Health and Addiction and to make it fit with all the policies and strategic priorities that we are surrounded with. And I really struggled! I just couldn’t seem to get my head back into writing big words and complex ideas, attempting to make them easy to understand AND engaging!

Of course my first thought was to write this terribly, so I never get invited to take the task on again! But I have way too much respect for our stakeholders, readers and audience, so I shall do my best to make this work. Hilariously, writing like this is far more fun than strategy-writing, so I am taking a little time out from that complex beast to compile this newsletter to you all… And I am finding it easier and easier as I go! I think it is all about the connection you see - writing this helps me to feel connected with each of you. And that reminds me that recovery is all about connection. Perhaps you can help me to recover from the shock of returning to my mahi? Thank you!

I hope that you all had a great festive season. I hope that the sun shone gloriously upon you and your loved ones. I hope that you got some time out with whānau / friends, and to do whatever puts you at ease. I hope that you somehow connected along the way. Finally, I hope that you enjoy the read.

Leading out this quarter are a couple of pieces shared by whānau that we know in the region. The first is an article about Janine Mullin, from Taranaki, who developed an “Instruction Manual” for her whānau to understand and help her to manage her anxiety – what a phenomenal idea!

The second was forwarded by a colleague who came back from a very tough place last year. She gained a whole lot of comfort from an article that she found on a blog by John Pavlovitz. The article takes the form of “a letter to those wanting to leave this life”. He called it “If You Stick Around - click here for the letter.

I hope that you will find it informative, engaging, if perhaps provocative in places. But I also hope that you enjoyed the inspired responses to the challenges that we find ourselves with. Don’t forget to stay up-to-date with our mahi at And finally, don’t forget to stay well and safe – and if you cannot do that, please do reach out to another – we are all in this together!

To read the articles featured in our Summer newsletter click the links below: