Community response to Rising to the Challenge meetings positive

25 February 2014
A recent call for everyone who lives with, or supports, those with mental illness to attend one of six community meetings to update community groups and interested members of the public on the development of the Whanganui Rising to the Challenge: The Mental Health and Addiction Service Development Framework has been very positive.
Over the past two weeks, a total of 109 people (not including members of the strategic planning group which supported the presentation) attended the meetings held in Whanganui, Taihape, Marton and Raetihi.
Described as the road map for Whanganui’s mental health and addiction services over the next five years and beyond, Whanganui Rising to the Challenge is being spearheaded by the Mental Health and Addiction Strategic Planning Group led by Whanganui District Health Board Mental Health and Addiction Services clinical director Dr Frank Rawlinson.

A strong believer that Whanganui Rising to the Challenge is an important project for everyone who lives with mental illness, Dr Rawlinson urged the community to take the opportunity to find out how the project is progressing and share their ideas with the planning group.
Besides being pleased with the numbers turning out for each meeting, Dr Rawlinson says he was delighted to see service users, family members, and staff from a range of agencies including the Whanganui District Health Board (WDHB), non-government organisations, general practices, Iwi-based service providers and crown agencies such as WINZ sitting in the audience.
“While the discussions have been largely supportive of the direction the project is taking, some have raised points they think need to be considered and there’s been talk of alternative ways we could express what Whanganui needs to support those with mental illness,” Dr Rawlinson says.
“The Mental Health and Addiction Strategic Planning Group will now analyse the discussions that have taken place. The document is being written now. We will complete it by the end of March in time to meet the Ministry of Health’s 31 March deadline.”