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Written by Karey Meisner

Hi Everyone. In this uncertain and rapidly changing environs due to Covid-19, I wanted to acknowledge the stress and/or anxiety this may trigger. With the goverment announcement of Level 4 Alert to take effect on Wednesday, March 25th, we will all be in islolation. However, the majority of us still have access to the outside world via our devices. If you are like me, the need for information is important. And if you are like me, I tend to use multiple sources including: government websites (e.g.,Ministry of Health, Ministry of Education), company websites (e.g., Air New Zealand etc), social media (e.g., Instagram, FaceBook) main stream media (e.g., Stuff, Radio NZ) and alternative media (e.g., YouTube). Please - and this is as much a reminder to myself as anyone else - watch the amount and the quality of your sources. There are some sources that can amplify our feeling of anxiety/fear. Take care of yourselves!

Written by Karey Meisner

Where have I been you might be asking yourself?

Well, the short version is that I have held a position at the University of Canterbury's Health Centre since mid-2017. In the role of Counsellor at the Health Centre I have been doing a lot including counselling, developing/presenting workshops, and contributing to a culture/policy of wellness in tertiarysettings. And it has been a learning curve. I knew that students experience stress but I had underestimatd the number of students regardless of the level of study (undergraduate or graduate) feel the pressure from ongoing demand to perform academically. My learning was how each of us has our own capacity to cope, signs of not coping well, and coping response. I found it valuable to explore this with students so that each follow their unique coping plan to follow. 

At a more macro level, counselling in the tertiary sector is under pressure. The ratio of counsellors to students is 1:3000 if the university in question has other student support services (most do). If this seems like a high ration, I would agree. I wonder whether it is sufficent enough with the increasing mental health issues and emerging chronic risk (self-harm, eating disorders, suicide risk etc). I hope the ANZSSA (Australia New Zealand Student Services Association), the professional organisation for student support staff in the post-secondary education sector, reviews their 2010 Standards Document in the near future as it seems outdated. To balance this, I found the focus on wellness in university settings across New Zealand as inspirational. I think Tertiary Wellbeing Aotearoa New Zealand are important and have already made big strides in supporting universities and staff to be wellness driven.

Anyway, I will now have to leave it to the fine group of tertiary counsellors in New Zealand to consider as I have now left the counsellign position to start a teaching position in the Master's of Counselling program at the University of Canterbury which I'm both excited and very nervous about. As it is part-time position, I am  increasing private practice days to include Monday and Thursdays.

See you soon!

Written by Karey Meisner

Hi Everyone. I have been asked questions such as 'Where have you been?' and 'Are you still counselling?'. The answer is these questions is 'I've been busy counselling'. Having increased my time at the University of Canterbury, I'm now stretching myself a bit more (and hence the limited news items). It's been another good year supporting clients, students, supervisees and doing training workshops both in private practice and at UC. I'm looking forward to a bit of a rest but then I'm back for more! Hope you all have a relaxing holiday period...

Written by Karey Meisner

Hi Everyone

I just wanted to show my appreciation for this year...and it's been a full one! I'm thankful for the opportunity to work with the team at Petersgate, not just this year but the previous 13 years as well. Sad to say goodbye mid-year but also the right step for me. It's been great on the other hand to have the opportunity to commence working with the team at the university health centre, so dedicated to the students as they navigate through their tertiary experience. It has also been really great to share a room with others in private practice (Emma, David, Robyn & Tracey) and doing education work (thanks to MHERC, NZAC, Pathways, & PhysioNZ) during the year. Wishing everyone a great holiday period and see you in 2018!   

Written by Karey Meisner

Recently, the NZ Coroner released the suicide rates for the year and it isn’t easy reading. The rate of suicide among men – particularly Canterbury men − is at the highest level ever [1]. Why is that men make this choice? From my experience, many men need to be seen by others to have the ability to self-manage which includes being mentally strong enough to endure any hardships that arise in day-to-day living. In other words, if ‘something’s not quite right’, many men don’t like to be viewed by others as ‘less than’ a complete. And telling others there is ‘something not quite right’, paradoxically, becomes the proof of being just that. Sadly, it is this, I beleive, that leads many men to not say anything and, instead, suicide. It’s simply too hard to admit – even to a partner or a GP – of one’s perceived failure as a man.

Read more: Manly As: It May be Different than you Think

Written by Karey Meisner

A lot of New Zealander's are starting to understand the mental health system - despite its committed work force - is not doing well at meeting the needs of the population. The traditional population based funding model (3% of the popultation need clinical intervention at any one time) is not suited for the increasingly complex and fast paced world that individuals need to navigate to survive, get comfortable, and then eventually thrive in. If you want to see whether political parties agree with this position of a 'struggling' mental health system, then have a look at the website It Matters.

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Written by Karey Meisner

Is it possible to positively market mental health services? Professor Ekant Veer, the award winning educator from the Univeristy of Canterbury believes so. Come and see Ekant speak about this topic by registering here.

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