“It’s amazing that WITT has done this for students, having a mental health nurse on campus is really proactive,” says Rachel.
Rachel works within Te Puna Manaaki where the team provides free, confidential health and medical care, counselling and chaplaincy.
“With the increase in demand for mental health support there’s huge demand on community services. With Rachel on board we can both help people navigate the services they need and put some proactive activities in place to help prevent and deescalate potential difficulties ākonga experience, ensuring they are ready and able to focus on their learning,” says WITT Te Pūkenga Team Lead Te Puna Manaaki Joanah Phillips.
Working alongside counsellor Penny Pulford and others in Te Puna Manaaki, Rachel provides mental health assessments for various conditions, including depression, anxiety, eating disorders, psychosis and alcohol and drug abuse. She provides a listening ear for students experiencing difficulties and makes connections to external service providers.
Rachel joins the team from the Children and Adolescent Mental Health (CAMHS) at Te Whatu Ora and has extensive experience in all aspects of mental health, predominantly working within the hospital environment in Taranaki.
“I am pleased I moved here as I believe mental health services need to be part of the community and I like the hands-on nature of this role and how accessible mental health support is here on campus.”
She says she was attracted to the proactive nature of this role.
“I feel I can make a difference by being able to catch people earlier when stuff happens in life. I want to make sure students feel it’s ok to pop in, sometimes life can be really hard.”
Rachel studied nursing at WITT, graduating in 2008, and also holds a Post Graduate Diploma in Mental Health Nursing from The University of Auckland and is trained in Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT) and Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT).
Students can access mental health support through the Wellbeing Hub in person, or by phone, text and email.