People sometimes ask us why our mental health and wellbeing work is focused on Tāmaki. The origin of working in a particular area came from central government’s 2009 ‘Better, Sooner More Convenient’ policy direction for health. This approach actively encouraged health professionals to work with one another in a more coordinated and co-operative way in the community.
In response to the desire of local communities to be more involved in health service planning and delivery, Auckland DHB, together with the Primary Health Organisations (PHOs) that support local GPs, developed the ‘Better, Sooner More Convenient’ national direction further by adopting a ‘Locality’ approach in 2011.
A driving force in the locality approach was the potential to improve equity (better health outcomes for everyone) and to develop local services to meet local needs. Tāmaki is a vibrant and ethnically diverse area. However, a quarter of its population of about 17,000 receive a government benefit. This lower socio-economic status means many people face health and social challenges and high levels of stress. Despite this, and the fact that the Tāmaki community has had programmes and interventions ‘done to it’ to the point of exhaustion over the last 25 years, there is energy, vitality and strong community leadership to involve Tāmaki communities in any changes that will affect their lives. This community drive can be seen writ large in the Tāmaki Inclusive Engagement Strategy (TIES) which was developed by a rōpū of local leaders. TIES is all about bringing people together and making things work better for the communities in the area. Given that the focus of our approach is to put the design of service and support into the hands of those who will use and provide it- Tāmaki a great first choice to do things differently together.