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A new safe haven cafe for whanau whaiora in mental health distress - DHB

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

A new safe haven café, named Te Puna Wai, has opened in Palmerston North to offer local peer support for whānau whaiora who are experiencing mental health distress.

A partnership project with Mana o te Tangata Trust and MidCentral DHB, the café will offer out of hours support, initially Friday to Sunday. Visitors will be able to talk with others who have had their own experience with mental health crisis at some point in the past. There is no referral process required to access the service, and DHB staff are available should tangata whaiora require clinical support when visiting the café.

The facility is based at Mana o te Tangata Trust, 601 Featherston Street in Palmerston North and will be open Fridays 5pm - 10pm, and weekends from 3pm - 10pm. Mana o te Tangata Trust are a Kaupapa Māori Mental Health and Addiction Peer Support Service.

Scott Ambridge, Operations Executive for Mental Health and Addictions Services at MidCentral DHB said that the facility will be a great asset to the community and whānau whaiora who may need someone to talk to.

"Te Puna Wai will offer an additional level of support to those experiencing mental health crisis, from those who can understand what they are going through. The space has been furnished purposefully to create a relaxed atmosphere where whānau whaiora can feel at ease.

"I am very proud of the teams, and thank everyone who has worked on this project to bring it to fruition. It will be a great resource for our community."

The name ‘Te Puna Wai’ refers to a spring, a place of safety that can help look after those who require support. The name was chosen by the kaimahi at Mana o te Tangata Trust. Desiree Smith, Pou Tautoko Kaupapa Māori Whānau Support at Mana o te Tangata Trust said that the name was likened to a safe place or somewhere where you feel rested but can restore and reset.

"Many Puna Wai are hot pool or springs, so in terms of Te Puna Wai, it holds a space to talk or navigate a person through a pathway towards wellbeing."

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