Mates4Life came out of a need to support people who might be feeling suicidal in the workplace and have no one to talk to and no way of expressing how they are feeling. It is now a four-step free programme supported by local businesses and charities and has already reached 1400 people.
This year the model is starting to be picked up by other regions and is going out to more HB businesses and even into some staff rooms at schools. It is definitely a positive part of Hawke’s Bay’s Mental Health Services puzzle.
Kaiwhakahaere / Operations Manager Tyson Ataera leads eight facilitators and says:
“We know that there are people within local businesses that are struggling with their mental wellbeing. It’s on the rise and it’s important that programmes such as Mate4Life identify those that are struggling and give them some tools to cope, as well as providing support for them within the business.”
“The aim of Mates4Life is to create life-supporting workplaces and ultimately life-supporting communities”Tyson Ataera
We’re trying to identify issues and get people talking a lot earlier. Training people inside businesses to notice workmates in distress and start talking about basic mental health.
Mates4Life has a specific focus on suicide prevention but as part of the first session all staff attend a one hour module called Aroa – Awareness. “Often people become aware, may be for the first time, of how to bank coping and prevention strategies for their on-going mental health and how to get support if they need it.”
Tyson says there is definitely a lot of support out there in Hawke’s Bay “but it is connecting people to that”
If your business is interested in Mates4Life, visit www.mates4life.org.nz