Workshop facilitators

Our people bring diverse skills, cultures and life experiences.

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    Nan Blanchard

    Facilitator - MH101®

    Kia ora koutou

    I am a counsellor with over 20 years’ experience and a background in counsellor education, student counselling, private practice and supervision.

    My professional qualifications include a Master of Counselling from Massey University and a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology from Victoria University of Wellington. I am a long-term member of the New Zealand Association of Counsellors (NZAC).

    I am delighted to be a facilitator for MH101®. I value the way this workshop provides a collaborative context for learning, drawing on lived experience and research informed practice to promote, enhance and develop wellbeing.

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    Nicola Tod

    (she/her)

    Facilitator - MH101®

    Kia ora koutou

    Originally from the UK, my background is in mental health occupational therapy and teaching. I have worked in a variety of settings over the last thirty years– schools, colleges, community, hospitals and prisons.

    My hope is to create a friendly, relaxed and safe environment in which people feel comfortable to share experiences, demystify mental illness/distress and explore these themes together.

    In my spare time, I enjoy theatre (both on and off stage), movies, splashing paints onto a canvas, occasional horse riding and confess to being a bit of a shopaholic. I live with my husband, a scruffy terrier and a whole lot of plants.

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    Rachel

    Rachel Stephenson 

    Facilitator - MH101®, Leading Wellbeing at Work

    I have a strong background in mental health and disability with close to 30 years’ experience in a variety of roles.

    I’m passionate about enhancing wellbeing and developing mental toughness and resilience.

    What I enjoy most about delivering MH101 is meeting new people, demystifying mental illness, reducing stigma, teaching participants how to look after themselves, validating the skills and experience that all participants bring with them and teaching a few new techniques to assist in supporting people’s experiences of mental distress.

    I believe one of my greatest strengths is storytelling and the ability to relate topics back to everyday life.

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    Renee

    Renee McDermott

    Facilitator - MH101®, Leading Wellbeing at Work

    Tena koutou katoa. I have worked in the mental health sector for more than 20 years. Over the years I have held a variety of roles, including systematic advocacy, management of peer mental health services, supervision, workshop development and one-on-ones with people who experience mental illness and their families.

    I have a Bachelor of Science (Psychology) and a certificate in Māori studies. I’m a qualified mental health supervisor and registered teacher.

    I have facilitated workshops for Blueprint for Learning for several years and I love working with an organisation that I know embraces holistic and evidence-based programmes to support strong, healthy workplaces, families and communities.

    I spent much of my youth living rurally and through my father remain connected with the farming community and the issues they face.

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    Rhys McDonald

    Facilitator - MH101® and Addiction101

    I work as a registered drug and alcohol counsellor for a district health board, bringing with me clinical experience in working with people and families who are experiencing issues with the use of drugs and alcohol.

    In addition, I have my own lived experience of addiction and recovery which enables me to bring a personal perspective to the workshops.

    What I love most about the work is seeing people realise as the day progresses that they already have many of the skills needed to support both themselves and others experiencing mental distress.

    I think it’s a privilege to be able to share my own journey in the workshop, which I hope helps in some way to reduce stigma and discrimination.

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    Roger Haenga

    Facilitator - MH101® and Addiction 101

    Whaia e koe te iti kahurangi, kei te tūohu koe me he maunga teitei.

    Pursue your aspirations and bow only to an insurmountable mountain.

    I am truly fortunate to have lived the life I’ve lived, and celebrate having soared, and crashed, with equal vigour.

    I appreciate the value that my most dire experiences bring to my today and my tomorrow.  Especially my lived experience of long-term homelessness, mental and physical health challenges and substance abuse.  More importantly my experience of recovery.

    Having personally lived through these made working on the frontline in community mental health, addiction and homelessness settings really rewarding.

    Currently, I’m on an intense and exciting pathway towards becoming a certified Rongoā Māori practitioner.  A very new and different journey for me.

    I feel fortunate to be involved with what Blueprint for Learning does, and this opportunity to continue to contribute to something that empowers others, to support others, towards recovery. 

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    Shelly Reet

    Facilitator - MH101®

    MSc Mental Health Studies, Post Grad D.M.S., R.P.N.

    Originally from the UK, Shelly’s passion for mental health began in her early teens and has extended through to over 35+ years’ experience in the health and social services sector. She has worked in varying clinical, managerial and education-based roles in the UK and Australasia, as well as working independently as a consultant, supervisor and facilitator.

    Shelly adopted Aotearoa as her home in 2000 and raised her three amazing young people here. She is the proud ‘parent’ of a very large canine (often easier to manage than the young people!).

    She has facilitated numerous mental health and wellbeing learning programmes, including suicide mitigation/prevention, mental health awareness, stress management, mindfulness, self-care, relapse prevention.

    Shelly is known for her passion for mental wellbeing and advocacy of people-focussed service design and delivery. She excels in motivating and developing those she works alongside, expanding her own knowledge base and insights as a result. She is a creative, fun facilitator and storyteller with a positive can-do outlook. 

    Her academic qualifications include Master of Science in Mental Health (Kings College London), Postgraduate Diploma in Management (Thames Valley University London), Advanced Certificate in Adult Education (Te Wānanga o Aotearoa) and a variety of qualifications in the areas of counselling, facilitating and supervising. She is a registered member of the Nursing Council of New Zealand.

    In her spare time, Shelly loves exploring Aotearoa, plays and dances in Wellington Batucada (Brazilian Samba), and is a keen supporter of the Arts, including performing in amateur theatre. She serves on the board of Pablos Art Studio and is currently the co-chair of the board of Wellington Women's Refuge.

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    Shona

    Shona McNeil

    Facilitator - MH101®

    I'm originally from bonnie Scotland having moved here with my husband in 2011. Scots and Māori have lots in common and I value what I've learnt from tangata whenua about holistic wellbeing and the importance of tūrangawaewae, especially being so far from 'home', and try to incorporate these as a Blueprint Facilitator. 

    My background is in the arts where I combined my love of theatre with a passion for stimulating creativity and wellbeing with all ages and abilities.  I use creative skills such as sand tray in my practice as a counsellor with Abuse & Rape Crisis in Manawatū.  

    For self care, I love the garden, walking on the beach with our dogs, and singing traditional African American spirituals.

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    Shreya Rao

    Facilitator - MH101®

    Kia ora tātou 
    Ko Puketāpapa te maunga 
    Ko Manukau te moana 
    Nō Tāmaki Makaurau ahau
    Ko Shreya tōku ingoa

     I began working in the advocacy space in 2012. I was passionate about youth mental health and wanted to see a change. My advocacy took me into clinical services, onto governance boards, and on various panels at conferences. I advocated for youth friendly services, services that catered to our Asian youth, and focused energy on prevention. During this time, I also gained conjoint degrees in Public Health and Science (Psychology). 

    My proudest achievements are the young people I mentored through programmes with the Mental Health Foundation and Changing Minds. Our young people have spoken at schools, showcased art and poetry, and shared their stories on tv. It gives me great pride to see these rangatahi continue to champion the kaupapa our forebearers began. 

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    Shubhangi Kaushik

    Facilitator - MH101®

    As a registered psychologist, I am interested in organisational change and how and why people adapt to and embrace change. I view working with organisations as low hanging fruit to increase awareness of mental wellbeing and build a positive workplace culture, therefore creating a wider impact in peoples lives.

    In my professional life, I have worked across different verticals of the non-government and government mental health sector, both at a strategic and grass-roots level, providing consultation on strategic vision, service design, development, implementation and delivery, and project and change management.

    Much of my working career has involved facilitation in some way, shape or form. I see it as a way to equip others with the tools they need to understand mental well-being, supporting early intervention. I also see it as a great learning opportunity for myself, meeting new people and fostering positive discussions on important topics, while developing new perspectives.

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    Sialei

    Sialei Anamani

    Facilitator - MH101®

    My name is Sialei Anamani and I have been a passionate facilitator of the MH101 programme since 2013. My background is in programme delivery, development, coaching and mentoring, and of course adult education and facilitation.

    I have a real interest in trauma informed research and care and believe this field is going to start changing our mental health system in the years to come. It's an honour to be able to deliver a programme that touches people's lives in a real way and encourages positive change.

    I get to be a part of this every day I go to work, walking alongside people as they look at their wellbeing and learn about ways to support themselves and others - a true blessing!

    Outside of my work with MH101, I am a mother of a gorgeous four-year-old boy, and care for my own wellbeing by ensuring I have balance by exploring creative endeavours, writing music, sport and staying connected with family and friends. 

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    Sian Torrington

    (she/her)

    Facilitator - MH101®

    I come from a background in community engagement, creative practice, and people-centred design. I am an experienced, empathetic and inclusive facilitator, with experience working with small and large groups in communities, government agencies, and teams. I love working with people, and particularly enabling active learning where everyone can participate. I am a naturally curious person, and I love the diversity of perspectives and experience that people bring to workshops.

    I whakapapa to the whenua of Wales through my father, where storytelling and connection through conversation is strong. I am pleased to be part of the MH101® facilitator team, enabling everyday conversations to destigmatise mental health challenges.

    A fo ben, bid bont – If you want to be a leader, be a bridge. 

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    Simmi Singh-Parmar

    Facilitator - MH101®

     

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    Erica

    Sophie Ward

    Facilitator - Addiction 101

    I have worked in mental health and addiction for the past year, working in peer support and advocacy.  

    Having had my own lived experience with addiction and recovery I look forward to facilitating the Addiction 101 workshops, and to walk alongside people in their journey to wellbeing and recovery.  

    I live in the beautiful Nelson region with my partner and our four glorious children. 

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    Steve Carter

    Facilitator - MH101®

    After graduating with an Honours degree in Business Law, I have built up 30 years of experience in community development and social justice across various roles in the UK and Aotearoa/NZ. For 10 years, I was a Mental Health Promoter with the Mental Health Foundation, working on the Like Minds, Like Mine and Five Ways To Wellbeing campaigns and I was also part of the team that set up the All Right? campaign following the Christchurch earthquakes.

    I am excited to be part of the MH101® team as I love to use my skills and knowledge to help promote open dialogue and understanding about mental health and wellbeing in our communities. I identify as tangata whaiora and I am passionate about using my personal lived experience to help others develop confidence when talking about recovery.

    I am also a musician and writer, a permaculturist, and my superpower is T’ai Chi.

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    Suzy

    Suzy Morrison

    (she/her)

    Facilitator - Addiction 101

    I was born in Kaitangata and raised in Milton. I have two daughters and three grandchildren and I’ve lived in Auckland for 40+ years.

    I’ve been working in the addiction sector in both residential and community settings for more than 20 years, latterly in an addiction workforce development role. I’m proud to be part of Addiction 101.

    It’s a person-centered and interactive workshop which reduces stigma for people and their family and whānau. We are all learning together.

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    Synthia

    Synthia Dash

    Facilitator - MH101®

    I am of Samoan and European decent. I have worked in the mental health, addiction, disability and social service sectors for 20 years. I’ve had both frontline support roles working with people with disabilities, at risk youth and the elderly, and back-facing roles in workforce development, cultural competency, service quality and improvement, systemic advocacy and mental health research.

    I was motivated to become an MH101 facilitator through my passion for using my lived experience to breakdown stigma and discrimination towards mental illness and to equip ordinary New Zealanders with knowledge and tools to support their own mental health and wellbeing.

    I love empowering people to recognise, relate and respond appropriately to those with mental distress, whether it be their clients, friends or family. I believe we all have a role to help New Zealanders’ mental health flourish and to prevent suicide and self-harm in our communities.

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    Erica

    Tessa Belich

    Facilitator - MH101®

    Kia ora, I’m Tessa.

    I have been involved in the mental health space for more than five years, working in facilitation and support. I am also a student in psychology at Te Herenga Waka - Victoria University of Wellington. I love facilitation because it is an opportunity to start conversations that can brighten days and change lives. I am excited to work with such a competent and compassionate team. 

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    Tony Gomez

    Facilitator - MH101® and Addiction 101

    Tony is a critical care and trauma nurse, now working in the mental health and addiction field.

    He is from the Philippines where he finished his bachelor’s and master’s degree in Nursing. Tony then emigrated to Australia and worked in six different countries before moving to Aotearoa New Zealand.

    He completed his postgraduate degree in mental health at AUT, certificate degree in criminal justice at University of Canterbury and diploma in psychology from Open Polytechnic of NZ. He is doing his doctoral degree with mental health as the core focus of his research and started his Rongoā studies under Te Wānanga o Aotearoa.

    Tony is part of Te Tumu Waiora, a national initiative by the government and Ministry of Health, using an innovative new model of care for general practice, giving people easy, equitable and prompt access to local mental health and well-being support.

    As a Behavioural Health Consultant/Health Improvement Practitioner, Tony is in general practice to see all patients’ presentation, including physical health, and all ages.

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    Dr Wayne Duncan

    Facilitator - MH101®

    Kia ora 

    Most know me as a person who enjoys nothing more than being with people, sharing ideas and experiences as we grow together. This is possibly why I have a passion for education, psychology, social research and a range of other interests involving people and new experiences.  Combined with being involved in teaching, school management, project management, consultancy and research, I also completed my Masters in Educational Psychology and a Doctorate in an area of special social importance, that of Empathy.  

    For me, however, true wisdom comes from the merging of knowledge and experience.  As such I believe I am fortunate to view mental health through a range of lenses, those of knowledge, personal experience, and helping others with mental health issues.  As part of MH101® I will relish the opportunity to share my perspectives looking through those lenses and also learning from yours. You may even find meeting me interesting, as I am also known as a bit of a laugh!

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Covid-19 Update

All community workshops in October will be held online regardless of any changes in alert levels. Stay safe New Zealand.