Joint WDHB-Pathways respite house proves highly successful

A respite house and service opened in Whanganui last year for young people aged 15 to 20 experiencing mental health issues is ‘just what the doctor ordered’ for the young people using it and their families.
WDHB Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS) clinical manager Sean Moloney says in the six months since the respite house opened its doors many families have benefited, with some saying it’s been a ‘lifesaver’ for them and their child.
“While young people benefit from, and enjoy, having a safe place to retreat to, the respite service provides their parents and caregivers a well earned chance to relax and restore their energy,” Mr Moloney says.
In the spirit of partnership, the WDHB provides clinical support and funding to Pathways to provide and maintain the house. And Pathways provides live-in support for youth staying there.
Established to provide temporary accommodation for one, and sometimes two, young people for up to a week at a time, the house “is a very nice, suburban property” which Pathways rents from Housing New Zealand, Mr Moloney says.
Along with having the company of live-in Pathways staff, the young people are provided with food, supported outings into the community and life-enhancing activities such as meal preparation.
Mr Moloney says given that depression and anxiety are the two most common challenges faced by people using CAMHS and Pathways services, a key part of both groups’ role is to work with young people in the early stages of their illness to help them maintain their links with the community, their families/whanau and to encourage them to retain their independence.
“It’s a combined effort between the WDHB and Pathways and I’m very proud of what we have achieved and the relationship we’ve formed,” Mr Moloney says. “Pathways do wonderful work supporting the people using their services, so we responded positively when they approached us last year to see if we would consider working with them to open a respite house and service. We know a good respite service can have a very positive influence on a person with mental health issues.”
Mr Moloney says, led by WDHB mental health and addiction services nurse manager Sharon Crombie, the WDHB mental health service is making big strides in forming partnerships with a number of community providers.