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Training key to improving rural mental health outcomes

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Mental health and addiction outcomes in rural New Zealand will benefit from greater focus on workplace training for support workers in this field.

Careerforce chief executive Ray Lind says workplace training is key to equipping mental health and addiction support workers to best care for their rural communities.

"Those working in mental health and addiction support and related healthcare roles are the backbone of our communities," Mr Lind says.

"We know our rural workforce experiences a completely different set of challenges compared to workers in urban areas, such as isolation and issues accessing to technology."

"Making workplace training available to these employees goes a long way to support them to continue making a valuable contribution to the mental health and wellbeing of rural New Zealand."

As the Industry Training Organisation (ITO) for the health and wellbeing sectors, Careerforce’s apprenticeships and qualifications in mental health and addiction support are making our communities stronger, healthier and more independent.

By 2020 the NZ Mental Health and Addiction sector will need around 2,400 new staff, in order to meet employment growth and demand for services.

This means an investment in training is needed now to ensure the future health and wellbeing of New Zealand. As demand for services increases, our workforce must be sufficiently skilled to meet the needs of our communities. We understand the challenges faced by the rural workforce, such as the isolation and access to technology.

Careerforce supports employers across New Zealand to run workplace training programmes, allowing staff to achieve nationally recognised qualifications on the job. We also encourage volunteers or those caring for a loved one with mental health and addiction issues to consider pursuing a formal qualification in this field.

The training has an emphasis on preventing ill health, understanding what detracts from wellbeing, and supporting people to reduce their vulnerability and to help them to build resilience and enhanced self-management.

Mr Lind applauds the Government’s commitment to improving mental health and addiction outcomes, and encourages greater focus on New Zealand’s key asset - our workforce.

"Careerforce agrees that an investment in mental health and addiction outcomes is an investment in the future prosperity of New Zealand, because as a nation, we cannot achieve our potential unless our communities are healthy and mentally well."

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