July 20, 2023

Media Release 20 July 2023

Written By

Joint media release from Te Whatu Ora Southern and Life Matters Suicide Prevention Trust

More Mental Health and Addiction Peer Support Services for Otago

More mental health and addiction peer support services in Otago will soon be available, with Te Whatu Ora Southern confirming Life Matters Suicide Prevention Trust |Te Whare Oranga Ngākau as its service provider for peer-governed services in Dunedin.

A peer support worker walks alongside a person experiencing mental distress and/or addiction. They share the knowledge and skills they have gained from their own experience of distress, and their peer support training. *

The need to develop more peer support services was identified in the national mental health inquiry, He Ara Oranga, and the 2021 Southern Time for Change - Te Hurihanga review.

“Stakeholders gave a very strong message that they wanted to be able to access peer support, and through a co-design process our community has told us what peer support services should look like in Southern,” says Te Whatu Ora Southern Interim Lead Hospital and Specialist Services, Hamish Brown.

In 2022, the Time for Change – Te Hurihanga Programme** project team held 11 workshops across Southern to co-design what the new peer support service would look like. Every workshop was co-facilitated by a person with lived experience, and there were several workshops for people with lived experience only. This ensured there was a safe space to hear the voices of people with lived experience of mental health and addiction issues. The Pou Tataki Equity Lead for Time for Change -Te Hurihanga also co-facilitated every workshop, to ensure a safe space for Māori to participate in the co-design.

“We’re delighted to be developing more peer support services based on what our community has told us they want and need for peer support in Southern, particularly ensuring that services are accessible and supportive for Māori,” says Mr Brown.

Life Matters is an existing peer-governed organisation and will be developing new services in Dunedin to provide a range of peer support options.

“Lived experience peer workers are the evidence that recovery is possible. The time is right to acknowledge the unique role in the mental health sector for this peer workforce to work alongside clinical services,” says Life Matters Co General Manager Corinda Taylor

Based in the Hope Centre, 63 Hanover Street in Dunedin, the new service will provide peer support to people experiencing mental distress and/or addiction six days a week: Tuesday 9am-5.30pm, Wednesday - Friday 9am-9pm, Saturday and Sunday 1pm -9pm.

Peer support will be mainly face-to-face, but also via phone/text/online and staff will also provide outreach support in the community.

The service will be open access, by self-referral or referral from other services. It will be available to individuals, groups and to any person experiencing mental distress and/or addiction issues. It will be put into place in a phased way. The planned start date for peer support services is 1 November 2023 with the service to be fully operational by February 2024.

It’s very exciting that Dunedin will now have a service operating until 9pm over five nights a week, including weekends, for people experiencing mental distress, said Life Matters Co General Manager Clare Curran. "Our service welcomes people, offering an option of non-clinical support that isn’t available currently, which works alongside emergency department and emergency psychiatric services (ED/EPS)."

Time for Change - Te Hurihanga has also just completed a “Workforce Development Action Plan for the Consumer, Peer Support, and Lived Experience Workforce.”  The plan can be read here. As part of the plan, proposals have been sought for potential providers to establish a hub to support people working in the Southern Consumer, Peer Support and Lived Experience (CPSLE) sector, as well as providing some supervision and training.

The development of peer support services in Invercargill is also underway with the announcement of a new provider coming soon.

Read the FAQs here.


* In peer support both people learn from each other. Peer support is based on key principles including respect, mutuality, choice, and hope.

**Time for Change – Te Hurihanga is a focused project led by the Te Whatu Ora Southern to address health, equity, location, social and systemic issues and put people at the centre of care. It is part of the direction to transform Aotearoa’s mental health and addiction system over the next 10 years outlined in Kia Manawanui Aotearoa.

More information about the Time for Change – Te Hurihanga programme and review is available at https://www.southernhealth.nz/timeforchange.

Photo caption

Left to right:  Daniel Tawaroa, Pou Tātaki – Project Manager/Māori Equity Lead, Time for Change - Te Hurihanga; Virginia Irving, Relationship Manager, Planning & Funding – Mental Health & Addictions Te Whatu Ora Southern; Clare Curran, Co-General Manager, Life Matters Suicide Prevention Trust; Gemma Griffin, Pūkenga Kaupapa, Project Manager, with lived experience, Time for Change - Te Hurihanga and Corinda Taylor Co-General Manager, Life Matters Suicide Prevention Trust.

The harakeke wall hanging held by Clare Curran and Corinda Taylor is a tāonga (gift) to Life Matters Suicide Prevention Trust from the Time for Change – Te Hurihanga programme team. It acknowledges the time of Matariki and new beginnings.

For more information, please contact:

Melissa Garry, Senior Communications Advisor, Time for Change – Te Hurihanga, Te Whatu Ora Southern

īmēra: melissa.garry2@southerndhb.govt.nz

Corinda Taylor, Co-General Manager, Trust Life Matters Suicide Prevention Trust | Te Whare Oranga Ngākau

īmēra: contact@lifematters.org.nz