New mental wellbeing role in Te Anau aims to ‘connect the dots’

New mental wellbeing role in Te Anau aims to ‘connect the dots’

A new Community Wellbeing Co-ordinator will be instrumental in connecting the Fiordland community with mental health and wellbeing support as it continues to deal with the effects of COVID-19.

The role was created through a partnership between the Te Hau Toka Southern Lakes Wellbeing Group and Great South Regional Development Agency, based on the success of a similar role established in the Queenstown Lakes District last year.

Well-known Te Anau-based local Anna Star has been appointed to the part-time role and will focus on sharing information about wellbeing concerns, monitoring the capacity of mental health services, and coordinating wellbeing initiatives in the district.

Te Hau Toka Group chair, Adell Cox, who is also the Southern DHB’s Allied Health Director for Mental Health, says Anna will be critical in helping to “connect the dots”.

“We saw a real need for a role in Fiordland to improve community wellbeing and, with the generous support of Great South, we’re delighted to welcome Anna to the team.

“Anna is a passionate local advocate with a strong wellbeing focus and a background in community development. Having lived in Te Anau for 10 years, she has deep links into the community and is probably best known for her work with Fiordland Family Network and local breastfeeding groups.”

Anna is delighted to step into the new role and believes that it’s a huge opportunity to help her community and influence what’s happening in the health and wellbeing space at a regional level.

“It’s been a tough few years and COVID has amplified some of the pre-existing challenges of living in a more remote area as well as introducing new ones. I’m really happy that I’ll be able to help people navigate these challenges and look after themselves and others. I’ll be working closely with the Te Hau Toka group and its Fiordland representative Sarah Greaney, as well as building a strong network of relationships with local community leaders, groups and social agencies.”

Ben Lewis, Great South’s General Manager Business Services Development, is delighted to be able to offer on-the-ground wellbeing assistance to the local community.

“Fiordland has been one of the hardest hit communities by a lack of international tourists and with most businesses in Fiordland relying on tourism that has had a significant impact on our community.

“To rebuild and prosper, businesses need to be well supported with information and resources. Having this role work alongside Great South staff with knowledge about support and funding available as well as other business resources will be a huge help,” he said.

The role will be funded by Te Hau Toka and Anna will work alongside the Great South team in its Te Anau office.

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