How do tangata whaiora and local communities co-design mental health services?
For decades biomedical professionals have designed mental health services with a ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach that has not met the needs of people with mental distress (tangata whaiora). Increasing the participation of tangata whaiora and their local communities, including Māori, in the design of mental health services improves service quality and outcomes. Aotearoa New Zealand’s health system reforms which will start in July 2022 identify the importance of participation of tangata whaiora and local communities in designing, delivering and evaluating services. Yet there are few examples that describe how participation happens, how it is done well, and how it improves quality of care and equity (particularly for those who typically experience disadvantage).
This study aims to examine mental health services that have been designed with tangata whaiora living on the West Coast and Canterbury. The research team will talk to people who use and deliver mental health care as well as people in local communities to find out how tangata whaiora and their communities participate well in service design and evaluation. Findings will guide others in how to increase participation of tangata whaiora and local communities and thus increase the quality and relevance of mental health care for all.
Dr Mathias is a public health physician and researcher with a wide range of research interests which include participation, inclusion and mental health in communities.More About Dr Kaaren Mathias