Mental Health Initiative Blooms | Otago Daily Times News Online

A peer-delivered mental health program is set to blossom after a successful pilot project in Queenstown Lakes.

GoodYarn, a mental health literacy program for rural and urban workplaces, empowers people to talk about mental health.

The scheme has been piloted around the Queenstown Lakes since May 2021, with over 250 residents from different areas participating.

GoodYarn was designed as a practical starting point for businesses and organizations looking to address mental health and wellbeing.

The pilot of the GoodYarn community program which ended in Wanaka this week, was facilitated by the Southern Wellbeing Trust, which created the programme. But the success of the workshops has inspired a new trust, the Head Light Trust, to form to refine the program for small groups and allow for scalability.

The Head Light team will continue to organize GoodYarn workshops, while strengthening the organizational structure and governance.

Southern Wellbeing Trust co-founder Anna Dorsey will take on a new role as chief executive of Head Light, leading its operations staff and community animators.

Ms Dorsey said her team relishes the challenge of developing GoodYarn into a sustainable mental health education program that other cities and communities can benefit from.

“The impacts of Covid-19 on mental health have been difficult and will continue for some time to come. But we are seeing firsthand the tangible benefits that GoodYarn Community is bringing – it is creating a ripple effect from education to mental health in our communities and we want to help share it more widely, she said.

Of the workshop participants, 97% reported gaining knowledge about mental health and well-being.

“This program is all about prevention, early intervention and maintaining good health. We can’t think of a better outcome than as many New Zealanders as possible with the skills and confidence to shed light about mental health and being able to help themselves and those around them who are struggling,” she said.

A funding strategy supporting a sustainable business and securing funding were priorities.

Co-founder Dr Tim Rigg will remain director of the Southern Wellbeing Trust.

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