“This isn’t talking about the awa alone. It is speaking to the vitality of our people as descendants of the awa. We are so incredibly interlinked that we are dependent on each other for wellness”. Raewyn Allan descends from “The River”– from Ngai Paerangi- the hapu and Te Ātihaunui-ā-Papārangi, the iwi of the Whanganui river.
Raewyn is the CEO of Mahitahi Trust – a kaupapa Māori mental health and addictions service nestled in the heart of South Auckland. Mahitahi has been committed to helping individuals and whānau achieve wellness for over 30 years. In this edition, we take a look at what Māori Mental health and addictions services look like on the frontline of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Allan says that while COVID-19 blindsided us all, our organisation rallied and prepared quickly for it. We continued to deliver services, albeit within a COVIF19 environment but our Whaiora got what they needed, when they needed it, we learned from it quickly, and we got through together”.
As a Māori mental health and Addictions organisation, Mahitahi are working hard to ensure that Whānau Whaiora are not at a double disadvantage due to COVID-19. “Whānau whaiora are more likely to be clinically diagnosed with mental illness without being offered psychosocial support, more likely to be prescribed psych medicines and non-conducive treatments. At every touchpoint of the system, our Māori whānau are disadvantaged. The system is the way it is and they’re treated differently”. Allan continues “Stigma and discrimination is alive and well for these whānau, and they carry the double burden because they’re Māori”.