Here is the Submission I made, for and on behalf of Business Crisis Support NZ, for all those who have experienced business loss, business failure, and bankruptcy. The Govt Inquiry into Mental Health and Addictions covers a massive area. This submission is from my own experience as a Consumer of the Northland DHB – Mental Health and Addictions Services after losing a business. The submission is geared specifically towards a forgotten body of People – the Self Employed – whom Society turns their back on – when they have encountered business loss, etc.
I hope my submission – even as a True Story, helps you and others in your journey towards healing. We hope that in the future, stigmas surrounding business loss, business failure, bankruptcy will eventually be lessened considerably. (Date of Submission 5 June 2018).
What’s currently working well? Why do you think it is working well? Who is it working well for?
The Northland District Health Board’s Mental Health and Addictions Services has worked really well for me. Correct, insightful treatments/remedies/strategies/follow-ups were given. I had two very good Male Psychiatrists –both from different cultures – who treated me well – as a Maori Woman.
When I first entered the Mental Health system for selfharming (due to business loss), I was seen by a Psychiatrist of European extraction. He was very young, but very good at his job.
I have highlighted the ethnicities of these and the following Mental Health professionals because I disagree with criticisms aimed at ‘white’ or people ‘not of Maori extraction’ – who are apparently not sensitive to Maori people’s needs. Nothing could be further from the truth and perhaps I was lucky to have come in contact with the People I did – who helped me on my journey towards healing.
I was admitted to Earnshaw Residential (Whangarei) for reprogramming, respite, and learned to take my medications as prescribed. This was very helpful and all the staff took great care of me. When I was released 5 days later – I had a nurse from Northland DHB phone me daily to see how I was. This was a great help.
I was really impressed with the work, three months plus, that the Canadian Occupational Therapist did with me [introducing healing concepts surrounding mindfulness, proprioception, sensory-related activities – conducive to my needs as an Autistic (Aspergers Syndrome) Client].
The mental health nurse (of European extraction) assigned to my ‘Case’ carried out excellent ‘follow up’ duties. When I had a relapse recently, I phoned the Northland DHB’s 0800 Help number. The staff member who answered was able to get me settled – just by talking to me on the phone. This takes alot of skill. She was of Maori ethnicity.
What isn’t working well at the moment? What Mental Health and Addictions needs are not currently being met? Who isn’t receiving the support they need and why? What is not being done now that should be?
What did not work well for me was transitioning from Northland District Health Board’s Mental Health and Addictions Services to XXXX. But my concern (s) were dealt with swiftly and appropriately. (I felt there were people there who lacked empathy, were nosey and intrusive, and who thought they had all the answers to ‘Client’s’ problems).
I found this behaviour counterproductive as it undermined, the hardwork that had already been put in place by trained professionals like Psychiatrists, Mental Health Nurses, Occupational Therapists; even Psychologists.
It would be beneficial all round if Organisations assisting with transitioning back into the community, conformed to the overall healing already put in place by not do anything that retraumatises transitioning Clients.
Clients transitioning from their district Mental Health and Addictions services are getting used to socialising again ie having people around them, before transitioning proper – back into the Community. They do not want people in their face and retraumatising them. They want to be left alone. They will mix when they are ready to.
What could be done better? What are your ideas about what could be done better or differently to improve mental health and wellbeing in New Zealand? What could be done better or differently to prevent addiction from occurring? What could be done better or differently to prevent people taking their own lives and support those affected by suicide? How could support be better provided to those who need it?
What could be done better. I am an older generation Maori Woman. With respect, I find it patronising and not helpful where Te Reo, Maori Academic oriented models of Mental Health, and the Treaty of Waitangi ideologies are being pushed in the mental health and addictions sector. We (Maori) just want to get well. Mental Health and Addiction healing requirements should not favour one race – over another. Often the Maori Language, Modern Maori Models pertaining to mental health, are not conducive to the healing benefits for all tribal areas. Waikato/Ngati Porou dialect is not the same as traditional Nga Puhi reo and vice versa. Modern Maori Models of Maori Health conflict with traditional ideologies that exist within some whanau.
The Treaty of Waitangi document is not going to cure alot of mental health and addictions challenges. Kindness and acceptance will though.
Academic Research. The Panel for the Govt Inquiry into Mental Health and Addictions are intelligent, accomplished individuals. Common sense approaches towards improving our Mental Health system should take precedence over the time-consuming obsessive need to gather academic data. We need answers and solutions now. You can do it, Panel.
In any advertising or press releases, make suicide and selfharming something that affects all age groups – rather than it being a ‘young persons’ condition. (There are alot of middle-aged Males who commit suicide). Suicide/Self harming, etc advertising should be inclusive (regardless of age, ethnicity, socio economic background, etc).
Create a platform where not so famous people can share their inspirational, compelling Mental Health and Addictions stories with the general public.
From your point of view, what sort of society would be best for the mental health of all our people? What would a refreshed system look like, how would it be different from what we have today, where would you start, and where would you focus on your efforts?
For the business community – Get rid of ‘unforgiving stigmas’ through education, advertising, printed material surrounding business loss, bankruptcy, business failure, etc. Stigmas pertaining to the aforementioned relate to a sector of the business community that for many years has pushed the notion that business failure, business loss, is solely the Owners fault. The reality is there could be more than one factor/reason – eg natural disasters like earthquakes.
Please see the Petition I started on Change org entitled ‘Change NZ Accounting Law.’ It is here that I talk about the psychological price of entrepreneurship. More importantly, Mental Health and Addictions Information booklets, education and training needs to be implemented and sent to all Government Departments, all work places, all NZ Chamber of Commerce Organisations, all Accounting and Tax Bodies like CAANZ (Chartered Accountants Australia NZ), ATAINZ (The Accountants and Tax Agents Institute of New Zealand. I would like to contribute to these ‘publications’ – re: mental health in business because of my own insightful experiences I know what I am talking about.
For the nation as a whole – identify what ‘stigmas’ exist and address those through advertising, published material, etc. Discrimination/stigmas affect the way people behave and/or react (internally/externally). It hurts when people treat others less favourably because of race, gender, sexual orientation, religious belief, age, body size, marital status, country of origin, disability etc.
Workplace/Corporate Bullying – Antibullying Organisations like Culturesafe NZ Ltd are doing an incredibly courageous job sorting the workplace bullying culture out by making bullies accountable and developing public awareness of the impact bullying behaviour has on Mental Health (and addictions).
I do not foresee drug problems in NZ disappearing altogether at this point in time. Oftentimes people do not know they need help or even that they have a problem. Unfortunately nothing can be done until they say they want help.
Client comfort and options? They are there in most cases. The choice and appropriate match of Psychologists/Psychiatrists/Counsellors/Mental Health Nurses, etc determines whether there will be any shift in ‘healing’. Without turning it into an ethnicity issue – Mental Health Clients can simply change the Professional they are seeing if things are not working culturally, etc. Clients need to feel comfortable with the health professional and sometimes there are unintentional mismatches
From my observations, individuals choosing to work in Mental Health have either got that ‘special midas touch’ surrounding empathy, understanding, healing, etc. It is something that cannot be learned. Like Fashion Models, Mental Health Professionals either have that healing ‘x factor’ or not.
Something as simple as promoting ‘kindness and acceptance’ and moves towards turning our Society into a more kind and accepting one – would do wonders.
Anything else you want to tell us? Is there anything else you want the Inquiry to know?
I did a presentation to the Inland Revenue Depart (with my Lawyer present) on Wednesday 16 May 2018. Presentation theme: Developing Awareness. The programme comprised of: Introductions, What the business community wants you to know about losing a business, Suicide – learn about the ultimate psychological price of entrepreneurship, Self-harming – learn about the psychological price of entrepreneurship – the emotional pain leading up to losing a business, and the aftermath; why Accountants and Book Keepers need to step it up and help businesses more, NZ Legal System: Accounting and Insolvency Law, any questions/feedback. I intend to carryout similar presentations to other organisations, businesses, etc in the future.
Please contact me if you require any further information. I am happy to speak to my submission in person if you wish. Thank you for giving the Nation an opportunity to air their highlights and concerns about Mental Health and Addictions in New Zealand. It has been a pleasure contributing something to this much needed Govt Inquiry into Mental Health and Addictions. Good luck, Panel. Choose your solutions wisely and inclusively.
Our stigma Crunching Mantra at Business Crisis Support NZ is and always will be (a) talking openly and publicly about Mental Health, Business Loss, Business Failure, Bankruptcy, etc. (b) letting people know how common these subjects are. (c) speaking out when there has been an injustice, and changing legislation etc.
This was not part of my submission – but as a previous Consumer of our Mental Health and Addictions Services, I will challenge any Academic or otherwise who is trying to say that Colonisation Impacts on Mental Health. My business was not around when NZ was colonised in the 1800s. It was set up in the 21st Century. The challenges I experienced occurred 2015 to 2017 and were not a result of Colonisation. The Govt Inquiry into Mental Health and Addictions – Meet the Panel Public Consultation that I attended showed that the Maori participants there – me included – want Mental Health Services to be inclusive across the board – with no race being excluded. We stressed that that’s how we want things to roll.
That is why many of us – disapprove of the ‘Colonisation’ argument. Do not try and disempower those of us who have previously or currently drawn on the services of our Mental Health System by telling us otherwise. We do not need you – in fact – object to you trying to speak on our behalf and draw us into this Colonisation debate – where no debate should exist. We just want to get well. We just want to be treated with kindness and acceptance.