Rangatahi Well – a new resource for those supporting the wellbeing of young people

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Whaowhia te kete mātauranga. Fill the basket of knowledge.

A new online resource aimed at making it easier for secondary school staff to recognise and respond early to wellbeing concerns in rangatahi in Years 9 to 13 has had an excellent response since it went live in June.

Developed by Manu Ka Rere a collective of Canterbury-based youth mental health and addiction NGOs, and professional online guidance developers, Rangatahi Well recognises the important role secondary school kaimahi have in offering early support to rangatahi with wellbeing needs.

“Secondary schools are seeing a growing number of rangatahi needing support. However, information for responding can be difficult to find or dispersed across multiple websites, and it’s often not clear where to get advice or which services are available,” says Juanita Gibson, content developer.

The Rangatahi Well website is a ‘one-stop-shop’ offering local advice, recommended resources, and support options for secondary school kaitiaki, kaitohutohu, and other kaimahi  in the Canterbury region.

Education, health, and social care professionals who support rangatahi with wellbeing and development can also access the site. While access is not available to rangatahi or whānau,  there is a range of great resources that can easily be shared to help them self-manage,” says Polly Hutchinson, education content advisor (and an experienced SENCO and former Assistant Principal).

Site structure

The site outlines an overall Kaupapa/Approach – the mana-enhancing values that guide how to support rangatahi, irrespective of the challenges they face.

The site’s resources are organised into different Kete/Topic kits which contain key information matched with recommended resources to help with planning and action, and help identify when further support might be needed.

There’s also a Tautoko/Support section, which lists the local and national services that can offer the individual support needed, grouped around the needs of rangatahi.

Finally, the Ako ake/Learn More section offers ongoing learning and development opportunities. Information and resources, including webinars, are sourced from local and national professional providers of youth wellbeing training and development, and material developed by national bodies or subject matter experts.

Ongoing development

“The site is a work in progress – growing, adapting, and thriving, just as rangatahi do when they learn new skills and gain knowledge from those around them,” says Juanita.

 A user reference group meets monthly, with representation from a range of schools and roles to share ideas and resources. “They are our on-the-ground eyes and ears, to help us keep up to date with the challenges and issues that rangatahi are facing,” says Polly.

During development, the site was set up to enable it to be expanded beyond Canterbury. A stocktake of the content added to date, reveals that almost 80% of it is suitable for all of Aotearoa, with the remaining 20% made up of local service information and regional resources.

What users are saying

Since going live, 1,200 people have used Rangatahi Well to support their mahi, with over 12,000 page views. Feedback includes:

“I have just spent the last 15 minutes clicking on everything and am completely blown away. He rawe tēnei!! Highly professional and comprehensive, I am completely impressed. A huge mihi to you and others who have been involved in its inception!!” – Head of Counselling, local secondary school.

“Wow it’s amazing – incredibly thorough. I will forward on to our clinicians and would also like to distribute to organisations coming into the Youth Hub.” – Senior lecturer in adolescent health at Otago University and primary care doctor specialising in youth health.

“I think this is looking great. Very user friendly and easy to navigate. Well done to all.”  Principal Advisor, Ministry of Education.

More about Manu Ka Rere

The Manu Ka Rere collective (previously Community Youth Mental Health Service) originated in the aftermath of the Otautahi Christchurch earthquakes, which highlighted a gap in mental health support services for the young people in the city.  A cross-agency integrated mobile service model was developed and made available in a range of youth venues  in 2012.

In 2020, a shift in focus from mental illness to wellbeing inspired the new service, Manu Ka Rere.  It offers free mental health and addiction services to young people (aged 13-24) who are seeking support for their wellbeing.  Services include face to face counselling sessions, group work therapy, education, and other activities.

Young people can refer themselves, or whānau members or professionals can refer on their behalf with consent.

“We want to promote equity of access to health and wellbeing services, and ensure rangatahi have agency over what matters to them and the decisions that affect them,” says Nigel Loughton, Clinical Director, Odyssey House.

The eight organisations involved in the Manu Ka Rere collaborative include: Odyssey House, Stepping Stone Trust, Purapura Whetu, Ashburton Community Alcohol and Drug Service (ACADS), Community Wellbeing North Canterbury Trust, Waipuna, 298 Youth Health, and City Mission.

Find out more

To find out more about Manu Ka Rere, go to https://www.manukarere.org.nz

To request access to Rangatahi Well, go to https://rangatahiwell.org.nz/request-access/