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Asian Mental Health Service launches new book

Contributor:
Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

A new activity booklet for mental health clients and their children was launched this afternoon by the Asian Mental Health Service in the Waitemata DHB’s newly opened Whenua Pupuke-Waitemata Clinical Skills Centre.

Growing Stronger Together aims to destigmatise mental illness - helping parents and children of all cultures understand each other’s feelings and giving them the tools to build positive coping strategies.

It has been developed by the Asian Mental Health Service and Maternal Mental Health with input and oversight from multiple parties including Waitemata DHB mental health leadership, psychiatrists, child health professionals and consumers.

"This is not exclusively for an Asian audience," Asian Health Services Operations Manager Grace Ryu says. "The concept was originally discussed by a whole range of stakeholders. However, we saw great merit in it and were keen to take a lead on delivering a resource that will contribute to positive outcomes for everyone."

Parents are encouraged to work through the book with their children and make the most of the useful guidance, tips and support service information included within its pages.

Mrs Ryu says the book is written for children aged between five and 12 years and will be equally useful outside of mental health.

"It will also be of a value to those who are coming to terms with physical illness," she says. "This book is intended to be as inclusive as possible."

Growing Stronger Together is available in English, Simplified Chinese and Korean - catering for the Waitemata DHB’s large and fast-growing Asian population, particularly on the North Shore and in west Auckland.

"There is still some stigma around mental illness in Asian culture and this kind of resource will assist greatly to help break it down and give people a stronger sense of hope," Mrs Ryu says.

The book will be made available to mainstream mental health services and relevant non-government organisations.

Waitemata DHB CEO Dr Dale Bramley says the initiative is an example of the DHB’s response to changing demographics.

"The Waitemata DHB area is home to just over 130,500 Asian people at present and that number is expected to be 172,670 by 2025. It is very important for us to respond accordingly to that kind of growth."

The launch took place in the 248-seat auditorium of the Whenua Pupuke-Waitemata Clinical Skills Centre, which was officially opened earlier in the day.

The centre will be home to many of the academic activities taking places across the DHB and includes multiple teaching spaces and a clinical skills laboratory.

"Growing Stronger Together is a piece of work designed to educate and it was entirely appropriate to launch it in a place of learning," Mrs Ryu says.

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