Tuesday 19 April 2017
Mental Health staff benefit from self-reflection training
Mental health worker Tracey Currie says self-reflection is a “powerful tool” support workers can use to achieve better
outcomes for their clients.
Tracey works as a Coordinator with PACT’s Balclutha Link Centre in South Otago, which caters for around 70 people with
disability and mental health issues, including depression, anxiety, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder as well as drug and
She is one of almost 100 trainees across New Zealand who are learning about self-reflection as part of the New Zealand
Apprenticeship in Mental Health and Addiction Support, a workplace-based apprenticeship programme developed and
supported by Industry Training Organisation (ITO), Careerforce.
“Self-reflection is a powerful tool to use in everyday life, not just in your work but for life in general,” Tracey
says. “It helps you empathise better with others and opens your mind to everything else around you, to be able to
analyse often-challenging situations so you know where to improve next time.”
“For example, when I apply this to my work in mental health and addiction support, sometimes people often snap for what
you may think is no reason. But on reflection, you realise your words, tone and body language are so powerful and it
could be one sentence you said that has triggered them.”
“So, through training, we understand better the need to use a calm tone, be empathetic, and make people aware that you
are listening to them.”
Careerforce Manager for Apprenticeship and Vocational Pathways, Penny Rogers, says the training helps give staff the
extra confidence to do their jobs to the best of their ability, resulting in better outcomes for New Zealand.
“As the presentation of clients with mental health issues is becoming increasingly complex, the training has a strong
focus on tailoring support for individual clients, since we know there is no one-size-fits all approach to mental
health,” Penny says.
Tracey says mental health and addiction support workers need a wide range of knowledge and skills so they can tailor
their approach to best suit each person they are working with.
“Learning and knowledge is key to managing such a diverse range of diagnoses. But at the end of the day, if you have
empathy and a caring heart and if you want to look out for our people and advocate for them, that’s all the skill you