On Friday 31 May, following Thursday's budget announcement, The Rt Hon Jacinda Ardern visited New Zealand first peer-led acute alternative service, Tupu Ake, in South Auckland.
Along with Minister of Health Hon David Clark and Associate Minister of Health Hon Jenny Salesa, the Prime Minister took the opportunity to find out about the unique value of peer support in mental health recovery. Robyn Shearer, Deputy Director-General Mental Health and Addiction also attended the visit.
Pathways’ Tupu Ake service, was the first mental health and wellbeing peer support services of its kind in New Zealand and an independent evaluation by Te Pou has shown the huge benefits of Tupu Ake’s peer-led approach. The service offers people the opportunity to focus on their recovery in a beautiful healing environment with the support of people who have walked a similar path.
Since opening ten years ago Tupu Ake has become an exemplar service around the world. It has hosted numerous guests both internationally and from DHBs all across the country and Pathways leaders have presented internationally about it. Most recently Ross Phillips, Pathways' Business Operations Manager presented about Tupu Ake to the World Health Organization Quality Rights conference in South Korea. Representatives from all over the world who were attending the conference were very interested in the unique approach Tupu Ake has pioneered.
Despite having peer-lead elements to several of the Pathways services across the country, Pathways have recently opened a similar services in Christchurch.
The Prime Minister's priority during the visit was engaging with the guests and peer staff, who had some great conversations with the Prime Minister and health ministers and shared their views about the service.