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Local SF Services

Northland Team Update

December 2016

Wow, where has the year gone, the countdown to Christmas begins. The last six months has been a busy time for our Northland team but before we get into what’s been happening it’s important to note our office closure times for Christmas and the New Year.

New Trainings and workshops currently offered in Northland

Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) Two Day Training

The free two day 12 hour mental health first aid training is designed for members of the public to learn how to assist someone who is developing a mental illness or is in a mental health crisis. The developing mental illness covered included depressive, anxiety, psychosis and substance misuse. The mental health crisis covered are: suicidal thoughts and behaviours, non-suicidal self-injury, panic attacks, traumatic events, severe psychosis, acute effects from alcohol or other drug misuse and aggressive behaviour.

Cath MacAulay is Supporting Families trained facilitator and provided two trainings in Northland, one in Whangarei and the other in Kaitaia as part of Mental Health Awareness Week. The training in Whangarei took place on Monday 5th and Tuesday 6th of September and held at the Red Cross on bank Street. The second training was held in Kaitaia in the Te Ahu Centre conference room on Thursday 12th and Friday 13th October.

We are currently planning trainings for 2017 so if you are interested please contact us and register for a training near you. Our first one for 2017 will be in Kerikeri in February date yet to be set. All participants will be provided with a mental health first aid manual, light lunch and refreshments and on completion receive a certificate at the end of the second day.


WAVES – Suicide Bereavement support

Waves is a grief education programme that aims to support adults bereaved by suicide in their understanding and management of grief and development of resilience by helping the bereaved to develop a deeper understanding of the grief process and suicide and make meaning of their loss, provide a safe and supportive environment to explore aspects of grief, and reduce isolation and stigma associated with bereavement by suicide, provide a learning environment and learn healthy strategies for managing grief, maintaining wellbeing, and ensuring personal safety, develop personal and social resources and help in developing a new perspective on life.

The program is facilitated by two trained facilitators and participants meet one day per week for two hours over eight weeks. There is a pre meeting requirement for each participant before the start of a group as once the group starts it will be closed to anyone else to join.

WAVES – Kaitaia was provided by Supporting Families and Te Hiku Hauora with the facilitators Sholay Sunnex and Donna Nathan. The venue was provided by Te Hiku and there is planning currently underway for WAVES in Kaitaia in 2017. If you are interested in attending a group please register as WAVES is also available all throughout Northland.


Talking about the Elephant in the Room workshop.

It’s hard to talk to kids when there is alcohol and drug use in families. Learn ways to keep your children, family and whanau safe and strong even when alcohol and drug issues are a problem at home. This is a free 1.5 – 2hr workshop and has plenty of resources to take away with you. This year there were two workshops in Northland one in Whangarei as a trial to get feedback and the second was provided in Ahipara at Te Hiku Mobile Nursing team resource center on Thursday 17th November.

When someone you care about has a mental health or an addiction issue workshop

This workshop will provide participants with information about how you can help your family, whanau member directly when there is mental health or addiction issues and how you can get outside help for them and yourself; and some ideas on what you can do to support your own wellbeing. Throughout 2016 this workshop has been provided in Whangarei, Kerikeri, and Ahipara. This workshop is based on the resource put together by the Health Commission.

NOTE: Check out our events page in January 2017 where there will be a calendar showing all the workshops and training and the areas they will be in.



March 2016

Supporting Families offered for the first time two workshops on ‘What is Schizophrenia’. The first workshop was offered in Whangarei, and the second in Kerikeri. The objectives of this workshop is to establish a common understanding of Schizophrenia, identify how schizophrenia effects family/whanau members as well as loved one with diagnosis of schizophrenia, and develop strategies to support families.These workshops were attended well and had much interest. This was just one of many workshops to come so keep a look out for one in your area by checking the events page on website www.supportingfamilies.org.nz. If you would like any more information or to register for one contact our Northland office on
0800 789 134.

Supporting Families now offers a second Northland Office


Our main Supporting Families (SF) Northland Office is based in Whangarei in the Municipal Building, suite 12, Second floor on 71 Bank Street. Our additional office is in Kingston House, 123 Hone Heke Road, Kerikeri. SF offices are open Monday to Friday 8am – 5 pm when staff are out of office, messages are checked regularly.  Both venues provide face to face meetings with family and whanau, offer monthly support groups, as well as workshops and trainings. For more information please ring us on 0800 789 134 or visit one of our SF offices. 

Welcome Cath

My name is Cath MacAulay and since January I have been working part-time, Mondays and Wednesdays as Family/Whanau Resource Worker at the Whangarei office.

Early in 2013 I retired and moved back to Whangarei from Wellington after spending 15 years working for the Wellington branch of SF, Atareira. Originally a fieldworker, I became the team leader of the Family/Whanau service at the end of 2008. I loved the work and the challenges and personal growth it brought however I did not imagine myself returning to work once I was so happily retired.  Amazing how one can change one’s mind.  

While I grew up in Whangarei and have some appreciation of the challenges particular to Northland, I still have a lot to learn about the local mental health and addictions sector.  It’s great to have the opportunity to continue to learn and hopefully to be able to support others in the process

Northland Mental Health and Addiction Support Groups

Whangarei Office

Morning support group every third Monday of the Month from 10.30am – 12pm with Cath MacAulay.

Aod family whanau group with Steven Staunton and Cath MacAulay. Please enquire if interested as this is a closed group and runs for six weeks at a time.

Kerikeri Office

Evening support group every third Tuesday of the Month from 6pm – 7.30pm with Sholay

Morning support group every fourth Thursday of the Month from 10.30am – 12pm with Sholay

WAVES – Suicide bereavement group for families affected by suicide. The aim of WAVES is to help people with the opportunity to participate in a psycho-educational program that offers an experience of healing and community by connecting them with other people who have been bereaved by suicide. The purpose of WAVES in this context is to help adults learn more about grief and suicide, find meaning in their experiences, learn to manage emotions, reduce stigmatization and feelings of isolation and assist them to move forward. WAVES is an eight week program that consists of one 2 hour session per week. We are currently  planning a group to start in Kerikeri date yet to be set so please register your name with Sholay Sunnex (WAVES) Facilitator) on 0800 789 134 or 0272772368. 


Easter weekend is fast approaching and there are plenty of events happening all around New Zealand, so start planning your four-day weekend. Whether you feel like going on an Easter egg hunt or doing something that isn't related to Easter celebrations at all, there's something for everyone. Whatever you choose to do with your long weekend, make sure there is plenty of chocolate involved. HAPPY EASTER from Northland.


Northland Team update August 2015

Photo: Northland team Kenneth Fletcher and Sholay Sunnex

The past few months has been filled with many changes which include a relocation of our Northland Office from Kawakawa to Whangarei, a new Mobile services that covers Dargaville, Whangarei, Kawakawa, Kerikeri, Kaikohe, and Kaitaia, as well as a range of two hour educational workshops, support groups for mental health, addiction and suicide bereavement, and certain Saturdays of the month opening hours. As we no longer meet with families in their homes we now offer the mobile service so you can access us throughout Northland and to see some continuity in smaller communities where there is a lack of services for family/whanau.

Open Day for new Whangarei Office

On Thursday 20th August Supporting Families Northland held our Open Day between 10am -2pm. The day was attended by Family/Whanau, Service Providers, and the SF Auckland team came north to show their support and see the new location of the office. The new location of the office is in the Municipal Building, 71 Bank Street, suite 12 through the Migrant centre.

Mobile Services

It is important to us to be available and accessible to family/whanau so to acknowledge this we have a new service available called Supporting Families Mobile services. From the venues listed under this link you can either walk in or make an appointment to meet with a Mental Health and Addiction resource worker, attend a support group, or attend a two hour workshop when available.

Saturday Opening hours

The Whangarei Office will be open on two Saturdays per month, the 1st Saturday from 10am-12pm and the third Saturday from 8am-4.30pm. If you are wanting to meet on a Saturday appointments are required as the front door remains closed in the Municipal Building. If you have no appointment then please ring the 0800 789 134 number to see if an SF staff member can let you in.

Mental Health Awareness Week

This year Mental Health Awareness Week is from 5th – 11th October and the theme is GIVE – Your Time- your words- your presence. Supporting Families will be participating in the week’s events which is in the school holidays so keep an eye on our upcoming events page to see what events are happening near you.

Supporting Families Auckland colleagues from left Merle Lambert (Albany office) Tatjana Karaman (Team Manager) John Taylor (Grey Lynn Office) Leah Morgan (Grey Lynn 3rd year Health Promotion Student) Olivia Salanoa (Otahuhu Office).

Kerikeri Support Group

Starting From Wednesday 26th August a support group will be held fortnightly in room 12 Kingston House, 123 Hone Heke Road from 12.30pm – 2pm. This group is for family/whanau or anyone who would like support, education, information around Mental Health and Addictions. This group is not for the individual with a diagnosis/addiction but instead for families/whanau and people who are supporting or affected by someone’s Mental Health and or Addiction issue. This group is free and confidential with tea, coffee and biscuits provided. Come along and meet other people with similar experiences, offer advice and learn from others. Please RSVP Sholay 0800 0272772368 or text 0272772368 to let me know you’re coming. Kerikeri Support Group link here.

Farewell to our Team Leader and Otahuhu Fieldworker Anne Foley



Grey Lynn fieldworker Shubhangi Kaushik and Team Leader and Otahuhu fieldworker Anne Foley.

Our lovely Northland team leader and south Auckland fieldworker Anne Foley is leaving us after one year with Supporting Families.  Anne we will miss you immensely and the support you have shown us as our team leader. Both Kenny and I wish you the very best with your next venture and know where ever you go your presence will be felt because of your passion, empathy, support, and professionalism you show. We will miss you, all the best for the future