Primary care organisations have been working with NGOs, DHBs, service users and international experts over the past five years to develop a new way to provide convenient, personalised care and support for people experiencing mental distress or addiction challenges.

The Te Tumu Waiora model is the culmination of that work.

Based on international evidence and local co-design, the new model of care provides rapid, targeted brief intervention to people who are experiencing mental distress and connects them quickly to the social and specialist supports they need.

This service is accessed through general practice and is based around two new roles in the primary care workforce – the Health Improvement Practitioner (HIP) and the Health Coach. Based in the practice, these new members of the team provide advice and support to clients based on individualised goals, connecting them to other services as needed and promoting self-management.

Someone presenting to their general practice who is experiencing mental distress or addiction issues can be seen in the same location quickly – often immediately – by the HIP. A support plan is developed, with follow up as needed, tailored to individual circumstances.  Follow up may be by text or email or with subsequent appointments with the Health Coach or others in the practice team. For some people the initial session is enough to provide the emotional or behavioural support needed.

The HIP and Health Coach also act as a specialist resource, enhancing the confidence and competence of GPs, nurses and other members of the team.

A community support worker role is a key part of the model where local community NGO support workers and peers support people in distress to increase their wellbeing.

You can read the full Te Tumu Waiora overview document here.