New mental health taonga launched to support tamariki in Te Tai Tokerau | Te Whatu Ora - Te Tai Tokerau

New mental health taonga launched to support tamariki in Te Tai Tokerau

A free, downloadable te reo Māori resource is being launched to help children and their whānau who have a parent with mental health and addiction issues.

The booklet, Tupu Tūkaha Tupu Tūtahi, is the result of a collaborative effort between community members, kaiako, Te Whatu Ora, kaimahi and whānau.

Today, Monday 18 September, community members gathered at Terenga Paraoa Marae with Te Whatu Ora Mental Health & Addiction Service and Te Poutokomanawa (Māori Health) to bless and celebrate this new taonga.

Te Whatu Ora Mental Health and Addictions Services Te Tai Tokerau Consumer & Family Leader Janeen Prohl said Tupu Tūkaha Tupu Tūtahi was created to provide activities and content to help children to build their emotional resilience. The booklet can provide support during what may be a very challenging time for them and their whānau.

“We know that tamariki of parents with physical, mental health or addiction problems are at greater risk of poor mental health outcomes if they are not adequately supported,” she said. 

“Conversations with children about mental health early in life can help remove stigma and encourage them to ask for help and learn how to cope with adversity later in life.”

Tupu Tūkaha Tupu Tūtahi is aimed at tamariki aged 5 to 12 and includes a range of activities to encourage them to understand and cope with big feelings. It helps children to develop tools to manage the situation they are in and supports whānau to work together to help tamariki understand illness and build emotional resilience.The concept for the resource came from a similar activity booklet, developed by the then Waitematā DHB, who gave consent for the Mental Health and Addiction Service to use the concept. 

Consultation with whānau, teachers, clinicians, translators and Te Tai Tokerau kaiako and kuia played an instrumental role in shaping the resource and processes, ensuring its educational and cultural integrity.  

“The wisdom and insights of whānau who have faced similar challenges have been woven into every aspect of the taonga, making it a truly authentic and invaluable resource,” said Janeen.  

The booklet was originally created in English and has been translated to te reo Māori. This enables whānau to choose which language to use with their tamariki, supporting equitable health outcomes for Māori. 

The launch date was chosen to coincide with the start of Mental Health Awareness Week which runs from 18 to 22 September.  The free resource is available to download here [PDF, 5.8 MB] and hard copies will be sent to locations in the community where whānau go for support.

Tupu Tūkaha Tupu Tūtahi is blessed at Terenga Paraoa Marae.

Te Tai Tokerau Mental Health and Addiction Services staff Maria West (Service Development Manager), left, and Janeen Prohl (Consumer and Family Lead), centre, and Asian Health Services operations manager Grace Ryu from Waitamata, with Tupu Tūkaha Tupu Tūtahi.

Te Tai Tokerau Mental Health and Addiction Services' Consumer and Family Lead Janeen Prohl, centre, with kaiako and te reo Māori translator Merepaea Heta, left, and te reo Māori translator Evelyn Tobin

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