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Our Peer Support Workers


My own lived experience has been a crucible of transformation, which has shaken and challenged me to my core, and deeply enriched me.  This experience shapes my work at WALSH with the people I support. I have also been deeply resourced through my extensive training in psychotherapy, and am inspired and guided by the principles of Intentional Peer Support.  I believe that the heart of Peer Support is a respectful, ethical, mutual, real relationship that naturally fosters growth for both people.  Nau te rourou, naku te rourou, ka ora ai te iwi.


There was a lack of hope for me when I became unwell. I was challenged by a lot of anxiety, hearing of voices and required support from family and mental health services. I found hope after knowing there is light at the end of the tunnel. I believe recovery is possible especially if you know if one person can do it, so can you! In sharing and telling my journey of my ongoing recovery it’s my aspiration to be able to hold the hope for other service users. My role as a Peer Support Worker is also introducing the role to people in GP practices. I found writing poetry, having a few friends I can trust and understand me, reflecting on myself where I have come from in my journey, and arts and crafts has helped me so much. Having my son born this year has enlightened me to see I can do it when I remove negativity from myself and work on my barriers. Kia kaha.


I am so grateful for the life that is given to me every morning when I wake up. I don't really know what magical purpose there is in life, but what is there for me tomorrow and everyday is another day for me to look for that answer.

I suppose we all do want to see a better day. For many reasons my past and present experiences have contained an odd sequence of events. Some of these events and experiences have not been easy. I found myself ‘surviving’ through some of this with good rounds of support from peers, friends and family. At WALSH we have awesome people who are living against the odds, and they are willing to share and support. I believe in ‘strength in numbers’ so perhaps we can get through this together.


I am a Ngapuhi woman raising a large whanau and believe that to be a strength on its own. I am a strong believer in the Te Whare Tapa Wha model that sets a platform in all aspects of my life. It is through my life experiences that has brought me here to where I am today. I prefer to say that I have a “living” experience in Mental Health. “Living” because I am constantly working on things and doing things to keep myself well. “Living” because I continue to face challenges in my life, some of which I overcome and some which I learn to be at peace with. “Living” because I continue to face barriers in my life. It’s working through these living experiences that I have been able to learn about myself, I have been able to allow myself to grow and been able to broaden my horizons. That’s when I recognised what Hope looked like. I’d like to share hope and I look forward to walking along side others on their journey. To celebrate strengths and wellness, and to promote independence and growth.


Yvie's story to come...


When an insightful friend told me he thought that my life’s theme was transformation through suffering I felt very despondent. For many years my struggles shrouded me like a shabby old overcoat. But by using mindfulness and Radical Acceptance practices I was able to slowly throw off that worn out old coat. Then it dawned on me that without suffering there couldn’t have been a transformation. Now I am honoured to be able to walk beside peers on their own journeys as they shed their own layers of struggle and discover the true preciousness of life.

Amy It was in playing social netball with other service users that I realised that people in mental health can be really neat and lovely people. In having a good experience with workers at the DHB and a close relative that works in health, I decided to do one year’s study and work in mental health. I’m glad that my lived experience is an essential part of my work in peer support. It puts my experiences and struggles in a new light. I am happy to share the way I live my life with peers and be a part of their lives as they navigate a recovery that is uniquely theirs and inherently valuable.