Mental Health Crisis In Kāpiti — Te Ara Korowai Faces Shutdown

Just as Mental Health Awareness Week starts nationwide, the Kāpiti Te Ara Korowai Wellbeing Centre says it may have to close when it is needed the most. As orlando psychiatrist says, mental health requires the most attention today. The closure is therefore concerning.

Te Ara Korowai in Raumati has seen a dramatic increase in people throughout Kāpiti accessing its services in the past few months — almost double the usual number. 

But short-term government funding is running out, and unless the Wellbeing Centre receives sustainable funding it is likely it will have to close its doors at Christmas. There are mental health treatment program for men being organised in places as their mental health is highly neglected because of society’s pressure. Essential Care Behavioral Services and mental health treatment should be free from stigma, and more people should be encouraged to speak about their issues and solve them.

( the Centre received the Government’s wage subsidy and Ministry of Social Development Covid funding in April to support its services, but this is now running out)

The Wellbeing Centre currently receives no sustainable funding from the Ministry of Social Development or the Capital & Coast District Health Board despite successfully holding contracts in the past.  Like many NGOs, it relies on donations plus Lottery funding and grants from a pool which has become smaller and smaller as more charities apply.  

Needed more than ever

Te Ara Korowai says demand for its services has skyrocketed and this is largely due to Covid 19 and the anxiety surrounding it.

It says there are so many needs within the Kāpiti community for those facing mental distress, and Te Ara Korowai continues to work diligently to provide support through free counselling, peer support and wellbeing activities as it has done under various organisations since the 1990’s.

The history of Te Ara Korowai

Back then in response to the closure of institutional mental health facilities, a group of consumers started the Psychiatric Survivors group.  It developed into Crossroads and in 2011 merged with Kāpiti Choices to become Te Ara Korowai.

It was born out of the needs and the determination of people going through tough times and with experience of mental distress – needs that could be said to be even greater today.

So why is the future of this wellbeing centre under threat?

The political angle

Similar organisations in Wellington and the Hutt Valley receive sustainable funding – why not Kāpiti?

The Board and manager approached Mana Electoral MP, the Hon Kris Faafoi, back in March to ask this very question and were hopeful with positive initial meetings. 

Then Covid struck — and, they say, they are still waiting on an answer, though they do understand parliamentarians have other things on their minds.

Closure ‘devastating’ for community

“It would be devastating for the Kāpiti community if Te Ara Korowai was to close.” says Nick Wastney, Leader, Kāpiti Community Mental Health Team)

Chair Debbie Godwin states closure will directly affect between 250-400 vulnerable people who access its services each year, as well as redundancy for five part time staff. 

It will leave the Kāpiti Coast without a safe accessible mental health wellbeing space where trained staff welcome people from Paekakariki to Ōtaki.

WHAT YOU CAN DO 

If you’d like to support Te Ara Korowai Wellbeing Centre to receive sustainable funding from the Government in order to continue serving the Kāpiti community, you can email/send letters of support, or lobby candidates standing for election whom you are voting for. 

For further info, please email the Manager: info@tearakorowai.org.nz or call during office hours 04 299 6981.

The Mental Health Awareness Week

Tomorrow, 21 September, the week starts with the theme, Reimagine Wellbeing Together – He Tirohanga Anamata.

This encourages New Zealanders to reflect on actions they’ve taken to take care of each other this year, and to look at wellbeing through a new lens.

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