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New Zealand’s parish nurses target mental health in 2018 conference

Posted on: June 12, 2018 3:43 PM
Photo Credit: New Zealand Faith Community Nursing Association

[Anglican Taonga] The New Zealand Faith Community Nurses’ Association has set holistic mental health care at the top of its training agenda for 2018. Nurses serving health needs in faith communities round Aotearoa New Zealand will upskill in holistic mental health care as they meet in Tauranga this September to build networks and share resources from the field. Parish and faith community nurses will turn their attention to mental health, youth issues, spirituality and promoting health in Maori contexts at the Faith Community Nursing annual conference to be held at Tauranga’s Holy Trinity Anglican Church.

New Zealand Faith Community Nurses Association Board member, the Revd Faye Davenport, is a deacon and registered nurse. She reports that last year’s mental health awareness week led the Board to announce a focus on mental health and building resilience for 2018. “We will look at nursing care in the light of suicide, anxiety, depression and high rates of loneliness,” she said. “We will also tackle the influence of social media on mental health, as well as bullying, eating disorders and addictions.

“Our aim is to fill a tool box of resources that will help us support people in our communities with strategies for positive mental health.”

The two-day conference, scheduled for Friday and Saturday 7 to 8 September, will be opened by Archbishop Emeritus David Moxon and will feature seminars led by experts in physical, psychosocial and spiritual areas of health.

Tauranga-based psychiatrist and post-natal depression treatment specialist Dr Wilna Swart will open with a session on how mental health disorders affect people at different life stages. Next, a seminar led by Bay of Plenty DHB social work team leader Caleb Putt will look at care strategies for young people involved in substance abuse and problem gaming. He will draw on insights from his ten years’ experience working with youth care and protection, disability issues, youth justice, drug and alcohol and mental health support.

Spiritual director and professional supervisor Irene Maxwell-Curnock will introduce the practice of art therapy in pastoral care, while Bay of Plenty DHB Nurse Educator Patrick White will unpack the role of ethical spiritual care in mental health nursing practice.

In her session titled “Kai Māori Kai Ora”, healthy nutrition promoter and marae food specialist Erina Korohina will lead an interactive workshop on healthy eating habits for building wellbeing within Maori cultural contexts.

“These sessions will be valuable to anyone who wants to know more about faith community nurses’ roles in meeting the physical, mental and spiritual needs of individuals and families as they move towards wholeness,” Davenport said.