New mental health and addiction peer support service for Southland

14 Sep 2023, 2:21 PM

Joint statement from Te Whatu Ora Southern and Mind and Body:

Southlanders will soon have more mental health and addiction peer support services* available to them, with Te Whatu Ora Southern confirming Mind and Body as its service provider for peer-led services in Invercargill.

The increase in peer support has come about after the need was identified in the national mental health inquiry, He Ara Oranga, and the 2021 Southern Time for Change - Te Hurihanga review. **  

Mind and Body is an established peer support organisation providing community-based peer-led services and support in Tāmaki Makaurau/Auckland, Te Whanganui-a-Tara/Wellington, and Ōtautahi/Christchurch, as well as nationally via phone through the 1737 helpline. They have been an integral part of leading the national development, delivery, and growth of the peer workforce, particularly in the secondary mental health and addiction space, for 25 years.

“We’re delighted to be providing this new service and offering peer support as an option for Southlanders who need mental health and addiction support,” says Magdel Hammond, Mind and Body’s National Manager.

“Our vision for this service is that it will be a community resource, welcoming to all and delivered from an accessible and inclusive hub, where peers, whānau and kaimahi can come and go.” 

Mind and Body will provide peer support through a Whānau Ora approach, where an individual engages with the service, and their needs and aspirations are seen and addressed within the context of their whānau as a whole – where that is what the individual wants. ***

The new service will provide peer support to people experiencing mental health and/or addiction challenges between the hours of 8am and 8pm, Monday to Saturday. Should peers require support outside of these hours, they will be directed to the 1737 phoneline.

Alongside the central hub, peer support workers will provide outreach support delivering services in locations of choice for peers and their whānau. Where peers and whānau live more rurally and cannot get to see peer support workers face to face, they will be invited to connect virtually, including to participate in group programmes.

The setting up of the service will be phased, starting in September 2023, with the service expected to be fully operational by early 2024.

It’s great news that we now have providers for peer support services in Southland as well as in Otago. We are beginning to see the changes to our current mental health and addictions system that our communities and tāngata whaiora, (those seeking wellbeing) have told us they need. The development of new peer services in Dunedin and Invercargill will significantly increase the peer support workforce and increase mental health support options for our Southern communities,” says Te Whatu Ora Southern Group Director of Operations, Hamish Brown. 

Read the FAQs here. 


*A peer support worker walks alongside a person experiencing mental health and/or addiction challenges. They share the knowledge and skills they have gained from their own experience of mental health and/or addiction challenges and their peer support training. In peer support both people learn from each other. Peer support is based on key principles including respect, mutuality, choice, and hope.

**Time for Change – Te Hurihanga is a focused project led by the Te Whatu Ora Southern to address health, equity, location, social and systemic issues and put people at the centre of care. It is part of the direction to transform Aotearoa’s mental health and addiction system over the next 10 years outlined in Kia Manawanui Aotearoa. 

*** More information can be found in FAQ 2.

More information about the Time for Change – Te Hurihanga programme and review is available at  

Left to right, Magdel Hammond, National Manager Mind and Body, and Elizabeth Tingle, Peer Support Service Manager, Auckland.

Left to right, Magdel Hammond, National Manager Mind and Body, and Elizabeth Tingle, Peer Support Service Manager, Auckland.

Hamish Brown, Group Director of Operations Te Whatu Ora Southern.

Hamish Brown, Group Director of Operations Te Whatu Ora Southern.