Hawke’s Bay’s first Pacific mental health, addiction and gambling harm service has officially opened in Hastings, located at 312 St Aubyn St West.
The free service is run by Mapu Maia, a national Pacific health provider which supported Pacific families in the region through Covid-19 and more recently in the aftermath of Cyclone Gabrielle.
Mapu Maia chief executive Pesio Ah-Honi told BayBuzz the service was a culmination of more than six months of work.
“The cyclone drew a lot of people to talk about mental distress, and after talking to and supporting the Pacific community, we felt there was a need which we could address.
“We also know from our previous work in the Hawke’s Bay that there is a high demand for mental health support services in the region, especially after the past few years, and had community requests come through,” said Ah-Honi.
The service will establish a team of Pacific health promoters, health navigators, clinicians, Taiala Village Connectors and Rainbow Peer Support Workers.
Ah-Honi said the multi-disciplinary team would work in partnership with local agencies, community groups, Pacific church leaders and other social service providers to raise awareness of mental health and addictions, while also breaking down barriers to seeking help.
“We will accept referrals from anywhere, including self-referrals, and we will accept anyone whether they are Pacific or not.”
She said the service would be dealing with low to medium risk mental health issues and work closely with the mental health unit to refer anyone with serious or high-risk mental health issues.
With support funding from Te Whatu Ora, the Hawke’s Bay Pacific community is also backing the new service.
Mapu Maia, which opened in 2009, is made up of qualified Pacific practitioners who deliver clinical interventions and educational presentations which are appropriate to the needs of Pacific communities.
In addition, the team works collaboratively with community agencies and social services to assist them to support Pacific families in need.
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