Job vacancy: mental health liaison role, Canterbury

Mental Health Liaison Role Position Description (PDF)

Full or part time, 12 month position, starting February 2021

  • Are you self-managing?
  • Have a mental health background with the Canterbury District Health Board?
  • Have a wide knowledge and experience of NGO mental health support providers in Canterbury
  • Have a qualification relevant to youth mental health work such as in counselling, nursing, social work or similar?
  • Or have a combination of these?

If so, you might like to consider this new position. This role will be based across the schools in our Kāhui Ako [Community of Learning]: Hagley College, Ao Tawhiti Unlimited Discovery, Christchurch East School, Te Pā o Rākaihautū and the external providers in the mental health system within Canterbury. It will involve travel to schools and community mental health services.


Remuneration will be subject to qualifications and experience and negotiated with the successful applicant.

We’re currently looking for a qualified health professional with mental health experience to join our team on a part time or full-time fixed term basis until January 2022.

The role

In this role, you will be responsible for:

  • Co-ordinating mental health services for young people across the schools working in conjunction with school counsellors.
  • Building relationships between community and hospital mental health services and school mental health services.
  • Assisting school counsellors, when requested, with student mental health assessment
  • Liaising with external mental health providers on the referral outcome and communicate this information to the Kāhui Ako’s ( Community of Learning) counsellors
  • Making referrals to appropriate external mental health providers for students in the Kāhui Ako
  • Potential to work with young people, such as facilitating psycho-education groups for those with specific needs (eg ASD, anxiety), or other direct support as agreed with the counselling team.

Coordination of the mental health liaison person’s work will be via a referral system overseen by a representative kāhui ako co-ordination team, chaired by a kāhui ako leader and comprising of key counselling team / senior leadership team members from each kura. The team will monitor capacity and case load closely, prioritising cases.

The Hagley College Board will act as the employer be responsible for appraisal and reporting.


  • Registration with an appropriate professional body and hold a current Annual Practising Certificate
  • Clinical scope of practice is essential
  • Knowledge and experience of secondary mental health and NGO mental health support providers in Canterbury
  • Experience conducting mental health risk assessments
  • Sound communication skills with the ability to build rapport with clients and health providers
  • A willingness to develop this new role in collaboration with the coordination team
  • As some travel may be required, a full NZ driver’s licence is essential.

To apply

Applications close Monday 18 January 2021 at 9am. Please email your letter, CV and completed application form to Sherron Harrison at

Mental Health Liaison Role Application Form (Word doc)


  • Wednesday 20 January 2021: shortlisting completed and shortlisted applicant notified.
  • Friday 22 January 2021 (from midday): interviews

Senior Psychologist, Auckland

Senior Psychologist flyer

Permanent, full-time, Whakatakapokai, Auckland

About us – Mō mātou

Oranga Tamariki – Ministry for Children has a commitment to putting tamariki and rangatahi at the heart of what we do. In our work, we aim to demonstrate these values:

  • We put Tamariki first
  • We believe Aroha is vital
  • We respect the Mana of people
  • We are Tika and Pono
  • We value Whakapapa
  • We recognise that Oranga is a journey

About the Residence

Our Youth Justice Residences provide a safe, secure and supportive environment where rangatahi in our care can make changes to get their lives back on track. Whakatakapokai is one of five Youth Justice Residences operating across Aotearoa that operate 24 hours a day, 7 days a week providing residential placements and programmes for rangatahi aged 13 to 19 years who have been charged with or convicted of an offence.

Our vision at Whakatakapokai is to create a unique, therapeutic, safe and restorative care environment that enables rangatahi to strengthen their connection with whānau, hapū, iwi and their culture; and develop the skills to make positive decisions to support them to flourish and transform their lives, reducing the risk of reoffending.

Whakatakapokai is strongly focused on achieving positive change in rangatahi through education, skill development, vocational programmes, and therapeutic and cultural interventions using a Māori world centric view (Te Ao Māori). Our overall goal is that rangatahi who come into our care are positively integrated back into their community and reduce the risk of reoffending with their mana restored.

About the role – Mō te tūnga

As a Senior Psychologist in our leadership team you will provide expertise in the application of psychological and therapeutic science that contribute to youth offending. You will contribute to the care and support of our rangatahi by providing specialised assessments and treatment, which are heavily based on practices that incorporates the values of biculturalism and equity. Your expertise in applying psychological knowledge will also enhance the team’s understanding surrounding the young person to improve the effectiveness of our outcomes. You will work within our multidisciplinary environment to get better therapeutic care plans for better outcomes for our young people in our care. We need you to have an understanding of mental health and other legislation to provide advice and training for our helpful team to improve practices and site-initiated program

To be successful in this role you will have the following:

  • A Masters or Doctoral degree Psychology and Annual Practicing Certificate with the Psychologists Board of New Zealand with the Clinical or General Scope of Practice (or eligibility to Register). People with the general scope should have extensive experience in a forensic setting with young people
  • An understanding of tikanga Māori, the importance of whakapapa and appreciation of cultural differences and how this should influence practice
  • Continual research and up to date knowledge of rehabilitation practices
  • People leadership experience, specifically with implementing new practices
  • Proven relationship management experience, with the ability to influence, negotiate and persuade across group and service boundaries to achieve desired outcomes
  • Ability to work in a multidisciplinary team environment
  • An understanding of legislative and regulatory accountabilities in psychology and care treatment
  • Understanding of the impact of neuro-disability, trauma and attachment on a young person’s behaviour

In return we offer a supportive team and annual remuneration between $95,242 – $142,878. We also support continuing competency programmes.

How to apply

Please apply via our careers page and click the ‘apply’ button on the position advertisement, applications must be made online. Please ensure you upload your CV and covering letter as they are an important part of your application.

Internal employees, please apply through your myHR portal at work. For any assistance with your application please contact

Applications close Thursday, 17 December 2020.

If you require a copy of the position description for this role, please contact


Foundations in Suicide Prevention – online training

FSP Online Flyer (PDF)

Foundations in Suicide Prevention is a comprehensive suicide prevention training programme offered as a fully revised, upgraded and expanded version of our online training previously known as the QPR Gatekeeper programme. We’ve upgraded our online learning technology and moved our programme to a new e-learning platform that streamlines the learning process and offers a fresh, smooth learning experience.

Foundations in Suicide Prevention is an evidence-based suicide prevention training programme that is designed to increase awareness, knowledge and skills to help anyone gain confidence to identify who is at risk of suicide and how to intervene to save a life.

Online FSP Training has been carefully designed to be highly accessible and user-friendly. Taught in a clear, concise format using web-based technology, compelling graphics, video and interactive learning dynamics, the programme takes two hours to complete, including an online competency-based quiz. A printable Certificate of Course Completion is available.


  • Size and scope of suicide in New Zealand
  • Risk factors for suicide
  • Relationship of mental illness to suicide
  • Current status of suicide risk assessment
  • How to identify who is at risk
  • How to have a life-saving conversation and intervene to save a life
  • How to access help and support

Work through the online FSP programme at home, at work, or anywhere there is an internet connection on any device (mobile phone, tablet, laptop) at your own pace, section by section. The training programme can be accessed and learning refreshed as often as desired during a 12-month subscription period.

To purchase, visit our website at

To request an invoice, email, call 021 224 6601 or 0800 448 909.

Vacancy: Therapy Services Manager, HELP Auckland

Therapy Services Manager September 2020

Counsellor, psychotherapist, or psychologist,  full-time

Want to lead a great team and make a real difference?

We are seeking a skilled and inspirational person to lead our team of experienced clinicians providing service to survivors of sexual violence.

We are looking for:

  • Significant clinical experience, including work with individuals and families and provision of supervision.
  • Skills and knowledge of trauma therapy and the needs of survivors of sexual violence
  • Cultural/ethnic sensitivity and awareness of Te Tiriti O Waitangi/Treaty of Waitangi principles.
  • Feminist understanding of the use and misuse of interpersonal power.
  • Capacity to lead and inspire and to work collaboratively.
  • Resilience in the face of interpersonal violence and its impacts on self and the team.
  • Experience in managing a budget, reporting to funders and maintaining legal compliance.
  • Good organizational skills.

HELP provides services to survivors of sexual violence – serving the women and children of Auckland since 1982.

Range of services:

  • 24/7 telephone support
  • Support at forensic medical examinations, police interviews, and court processes.
  • Counselling and psychotherapy for survivors, family and friends – children, young people and adults.
  • Family reconciliation following intra-familial abuse, if appropriate.
  • Personal safety programme We Can Keep Safe for preschool children and their parents and caregivers.

As a well-established community agency, we offer the opportunity to work with a highly skilled team in a stimulating and supportive work environment


Please email for JD then send CV + covering letter to Kathryn McPhillips:

Ring 09-623 1316 ext 8007 for further information.

Applications close: 2 October 2020

Vacancy: Therapist, Oranga Tamariki, Te Tai Tokerau region

Therapist – Oranga Tamariki – Te Tai Tokerau region

We have one full-time, fixed-term Therapist position available until June 2021 at our Clinical Services team Te Tai Tokerau (TTT) region with the possibility to be extended to a full-time, permanent position. We would also consider a part-time position for the right applicant.

The Clinical Services Team TTT is a small team which provides psychological and therapeutic assessments, interviews, specialist interventions (play/sand tray therapy, Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behaviour Therapy, Psychoeducation) to children, young people and families who have experienced abuse and neglect. Experience working with children in the care and protection environment, specifically providing therapeutic assessment and trauma-based therapy to children and their families/caregivers, will be an advantage, but not essential.

Responsibilities will include working with various cultures including Maori and Pacifica clients, providing professional consultation to Social Workers, and liaising with community providers.

The diversity in this role provides the flexibility in the use of evidence-based therapy models and intervention tools to achieve positive outcomes for children and their whanau. Oranga Tamariki has wide-ranging statutory responsibilities and is committed to services that are culturally appropriate. Oranga Tamariki recognises and has a commitment to the principles of the Treaty of Waitangi. Salary will be according to the relevant Oranga Tamariki Therapist Scale.

What you will bring?

  • Preferably have a counselling/Child Psychotherapist qualification and be a member of the relevant professional association (NZAC or NZAP)
  • Preferably practical work experience in evidence-based trauma therapy with children and young people
  • Excellent verbal and written and interpersonal communication skills
  • Strong engagement and relationship building skills
  • Cultural awareness
  • Sound judgement and organisational skills
  • The ability to manage risk and make difficult decisions
  • A positive outlook and supporting nature
  • Ability to discern and unpack complex situations
  • Understanding of the Oranga Tamariki Act

We offer:

  • A salary range between $63,884-$89,662 which will be in line with skills and experience
  • Regular clinical supervision
  • Opportunities for further professional development
  • You to be part of a very dynamic, passionate team, working across the five sites in Northland region, to make a difference in the life’s of Tamariki and their whanau who have experienced trauma

How to apply

You can apply online at

Your cover letter will be a key part of our assessment process, so please highlight how your experience relates to the competencies listed in the position description.

Current Oranga Tamariki employees – please apply through your myHR portal at work. This will ensure your myHR employee profile is recognised as ‘internal’.

For further information with regards to the role please email Tina Besson at

Applications close Friday, 25 September 2020.

Call for help to run the 1737 support line

Kia ora,

We need help. More Kiwis are calling 1737, in response to COVID-19, and we need mental health professionals to support the community. A work from home option is available, providing support to callers of the National Telehealth Service which includes 137. We are currently seeing an increase in our service volumes and some changes in presentations. Issues callers request support for are diverse and some of the current themes we are seeing include:

  • relationship issues exacerbated by lockdown
  • increasing stress around individual and whanau financial security and jobs/careers
  • health anxiety re COVID-19 and triggered mood disorders
  • increased risk presentation (suicide, self-harm, harm to and from others including domestic violence)
  • individuals experiencing increased isolation without the social support structures/resources to be able to cope
  • changes to face-to-face support options impacting people’s ability to access/maintain treatment
  • alcohol and other drug-related issues

Ideally, any experienced registered therapist would meet the criteria (even better if you also have some telehealth experience eg Lifeline etc). If you are a good fit and meet our requirements (including experience and their IT setup) then we will on board you as quickly as possible and give you access to some online learning. The training is quick and focusses on our systems and critical processes (no focus on clinical skills training).  

Please email so we can contact you with more information.

Please click here for a factsheet.


Practising psychotherapy in the midst of COVID-19 pandemic

[As at 19 March 2020]

Although community spread of the virus has not yet happened in Aotearoa NZ, and therefore the current risk of virus transmission between ourselves and clients is extremely low, NZAP advises our members to keep informed and prepared for the possibility that COVID-19 may spread in the community.

  • Check the Ministry of Health link for updates:
  • Talk to clients and supervisees about COVID-19, your hygiene measures & precautions.
  • Make contingency plans for meeting remotely if needed – online, by phone or by email.
  • If clients or supervises are at all unwell, even with a minor cough or sore throat, or if they have returned from overseas within the last 14 days, ask that they cancel or meet remotely.
  • If you are at all unwell, even with a minor cough or sore throat, or if you have contact with someone who has symptoms of COVID-19, cancel your appointments or meet remotely.
  • If you work remotely from home, ensure client confidentiality (such as for storage of notes), the appropriateness of the view into your home, and that the client has access to a private space from which to talk.
  • Put a poster on your door and in your waiting room:

  • Review your incapacity plan and ensure your supervisor is aware of it.
  • Ensure your supervisor or another trusted colleague can access a list and contact details of current clients.

Make hygiene changes:

  • Stay 2 metres from clients in the therapy hour.
  • Cough or sneeze into your elbow or by covering your mouth and nose with tissues.
  • Put used tissues in the bin or a bag immediately.
  • Wash your hands with soap and water frequently (for at least 20 seconds).
  • Check soap supplies regularly.
  • Don’t touch your eyes, nose or mouth if your hands are not clean.
  • Remove magazines from your waiting room.
  • Consider washing arrangements for cups and glasses or use paper ones.
  • Wipe surfaces such as door handles and arm rests regularly with antiseptic solution.
  • Replace shared hand towels with disposable ones in bathrooms.
  • Use bank transfers rather than handle money.
  • Maintain physical distance (at least one metre).
  • Use ‘one metre greetings’ as alternatives to handshakes and hugs, e.g. hand on heart, elbow hongi.

Suggestions made by members in other forums:

  • Prepare for the possibility of isolation, for example form a COVID-19 support circle with friends and/or neighbours.
  • If you have underlying health conditions, talk with your doctor about the appropriateness of a pneumonia and/or flu vaccination.
  • Consider avoiding crowds if you are over 60 or have underlying medical conditions (such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, chronic respiratory disease and cancer) which leave you more vulnerable to COVID-19 than the general population.

NZAP Council

Strike by psychotherapists in Auckland and Waitemata DHBs

Psychotherapists at Waitemata and Auckland DHBs have made the painful and difficult decision to go on strike for the first time ever.

It is a challenging situation for our colleagues who have only come to this decision after the negotiated agreement was turned down by senior managers.

The terms being negotiated were for the same pay rates as agreed in the PSA meca agreement, but psychotherapists were negotiating about more suitable and relevant conditions around supervision and professional development. They believe these are crucial for professional and safe practice, as well as recruitment and retention.

NZAP supports their stand on these matters.They are represented by APEX and both groups voted unanimously to notify strike action of no client contact for 3 days later this month.

It is not hard to imagine the difficulty our colleagues will have informing vulnerable individuals and groups that the strike is going ahead. It is not easy to make this stand when it disrupts clients’ treatment.

As psychotherapists are a small group within the DHB system, it is important that they receive our encouragement and know we support their stand.

E hoa ma, kia kaha, kia maia, kia manawanui.


Lynne Holdem

NZAP President-Elect

Oranga Tamariki and Maori Whanau Wellbeing

NZAP press release

Minister for Children, Honourable Tracey Martin, stated on RNZ recently that Oranga Tamariki would have to partner with Iwi to provide safe homes for children in state care. Children’s Commissioner Andrew Becroft called this “a revolution in the way the State honours Treaty obligations with Māori in respect with care of children”.

New Zealand Association of Psychotherapists Spokesperson, Lynne Holdem, said: “NZAP welcomes the direction of this morning’s announcement and Oranga Tamariki’s commitment to consult with iwi regarding the tamariki apparently in need of care and protection.”

“Psychotherapists hope that the new policies are resourced with sufficient funding to allow iwi, and other community organisations, to pay providers and clinicians skilled and knowledgeable in matauranga Māori and in family therapy, trauma resolution and attachment behaviour,” Holdem said.

“Tertiary education systems need to do better to prepare health practitioners to respond much more competently to the needs of whanau Maori, tamariki and mokopuna. Building health workforce capability begins at our training institutions.”

“Many therapists trained in Family Therapy are now at retirement age. Training institutions such as the Child and Adolescent Psychotherapy training at AUT offer preparation for the kind of early intensive intervention that is needed but predominantly Pakeha graduates may still lack ability to connect with Maori and do not have the deep experience and knowledge that makes for true cultural competency. Courses like this need to be funded elsewhere in Aotearoa and young people given incentives to attend them,” said Holdem.

“A greater investment in Kaupapa Maori research, curriculum development and design to produce the workforce could bring about change and greater accountability from professionals and organisations in terms of Te Tiriti obligations and a preparedness for Maori led initiatives. When this becomes much more visible in our society perhaps then and only then will Maori be able to trust in the services provided,” stated Holdem.

“We are calling for investment in resources and training so vulnerable parents and families, are supported by psychotherapists, counsellors and social workers who have an understanding of the value of Maori tikanaga, matauranga and whakapapa to heal trauma and can also recognise the needs of each whanau and make interventions that are skilled and culturally attuned,” she continued.

“Many uplifted children, in State care, have difficult behaviours as a result of neglect and trauma so whanau or caregivers need training from child and family therapists to manage emotional escalations in order to give the child a chance to develop secure attachment. This can happen in settings where both the mother and the children are uplifted and the mother supported to address her own trauma and develop reflective capacity and the ability to respond to the needs signalled by the child. Kaupapa Maori organisations, such as Tu Tama Wahine o Taranaki or Hoki ki to Rito in South Auckland, could be resourced to provide the intensive wrap around services required by these whanau,” she went on to say.

“A damaged child comes from a damaged whanau and the whole whanau needs a combination of support to enable them to address their basic needs, resolve addiction issues and heal from traumatic experiences so that they may have a greater sense of agency and whanau capability to provide safe home environments for tamariki and mokopuna,” said Holdem.

“NZAP supports the new revolution in Oranga Tamariki and recognises Māori iwi will develop their own responses to help and heal their whanau. Let us hope that government is able to provide sufficient funding for this to be the kind of early, intensive, and wrap around service that will prevent further State uplift of tamariki,” she stated.

Oranga Tamariki – the health of children

NZAP press release

The health of children depends on having safe, supportive structures around them.

In Te Ao Māori, the child is born of its parents, but belongs to the entire whānau. They are a taonga, someone to be celebrated and supported into their adulthood, where they can continue to contribute to their whānau, hapū and iwi. An uplift of a child from within their whānau severely disrupts this process.

The connection of an infant to their parents is of paramount importance. For Māori, so is the child’s ability to know and connect to their whānau, hapū and iwi, their whenua (ancestral lands), their whakapapa (ancestry), and their mātauranga Māori (indigenous knowledge). In line with the emphasis of holism in Te Ao Māori, these connections are vital to the development of a Māori child. When a child is uplifted and placed outside of their whanau their access to these supportive connections becomes extremely compromised.

State interference has impeded Māori whanau for over a century – the Native Schools Act (1867) and the Tohunga Suppression Act (1907) are examples of legislature which affected the way Māori lived in a rapidly changing Aotearoa. We also acknowledge the findings of Puao-te-Atatū (1988) which outlined severe deficiencies and concerns within the state’s care of children.

It is necessary that crown entities such as Oranga Tamariki think deeply about how they support tamariki within their whānau, hapū and iwi. When children experience loss and grief at an early age, this trauma often has ongoing effects on their health, wellbeing and development throughout the course of their lives. It is vital to remember that in the pursuit of safety, we not perpetuate other serious harm in the process.

Anna Fleming – Psychotherapist

Member, Waka Oranga, National Collective of Māori Psychotherapy Practitioners & NZ Association of Psychotherapists