Every Moment Counts

30 January 2020

Small moments can make big differences in how children feel and function in school. This is a key driver behind a one-day workshop on mental health held at Manawa in the Christchurch health precinct.

  • Every moment counts ticket
Every moment counts organisers

Left to right: Deirdre Richardson, Facilitator l Mental Health and Addiction Workforce, South Island Alliance; Dale Sheehan, UC; and Dr Susan Bazyk, at the Every Moment Counts workshop held in Christchurch.

Sponsored and organised locally by the University of Canterbury’s School of Health Sciences Te Kura Mātai Hauora, Every Moment Counts is one of five workshops being held across Aotearoa New Zealand. The workshop series is the outcome of a collaboration between Otago Polytechnic School of Occupational Therapy, South Island Alliance (DHBS), Auckland University of Technology, Werry Workforce Whāraurau, and the University of Canterbury (UC). 

Designed with a public health focus, the workshops aim to bring child wellbeing practitioners from both the health and education sectors together. By offering evidence-based mental health promotion strategies they will help to build capacity across a range of professionals with vested interest in the mental health and wellbeing of children and youth, such as special and general education teachers, RTLBs, counsellors, psychologists, nurses, social workers, occupational therapists, teaching support staff, community youth providers, and speech and language therapists. The Christchurch workshop was delivered to captive audience of 80 health and education professionals.

“The workshops are unique as they bring together educators and health professionals, who work in schools, hospitals, clinic and community settings, promoting a collaborative approach,” says Dale Sheehan, local workshop organiser and Senior Lecturer, School of Health Sciences.

The workshops are delivered by Dr Susan Bazyk, project director of Every Moment Counts: Promoting Mental Health Throughout the Day – a multi-pronged mental health promotion initiative originally funded by the Ohio Department of Education (everymomentcounts.org). Dr Bazyk is currently in New Zealand on a Fulbright Specialist scholarship and is a Professor Emerita of the Occupational Therapy Program at Cleveland State University where she taught for 34 years.

“Every Moment Counts reinforces the message that enjoyable experiences throughout the day promote feelings of emotional wellbeing. Everyone can be a mental health promoter,” says Dr Bazyk.

Workshop participants are learning to apply evidence-based mental health promotion strategies and implement activity-based programmes using practical examples for building capacity of the children’s workforce.

“These events will also help build local and national inter-professional networks and lead to further collaboration between health and education sectors,” says Sheehan.

For the organisations involved, the next step is to seek funding to develop and maintain a learning culture across the workshop sites through the establishment of a sustainable, national, community of practitioners. The long-term intention is to facilitate effective translation of knowledge into practice through ongoing peer support, and the co-designing of online resources.

For more information contact: Dale Sheehan, UC School of Health Sciences, email: dale.sheehan@canterbury.ac.nz

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