The Government believes wellbeing belongs at the heart of policymaking.
Budget 2019 Policy Statement

WB1:  Action for Wellbeing: The theory and the practice of promoting mental wellbeing




It is commonly stated that there is no health without mental health. It is a foundational pillar for wellbeing and resiliency. Mental wellbeing is more than the mere absence of mental illness. It is the capacity to feel, think, and act in ways that enhance our ability to enjoy life and respond to the challenges we face. It is a positive sense of emotional, physical and spiritual wellbeing that respects the importance of culture, diversity, equity, social justice and personal dignity.


While, as a country, we have not experienced the direct impact of COVID-19 in terms of serious illness or deaths, the secondary impacts of the pandemic are likely to have a severe impact on individual whānau and community wellbeing.


Government has just released Kia Kaha, Kia Māia, Kia Ora Aotearoa: Psychosocial and Mental Wellbeing Recovery Plan with the stated goal "to protect and enhance people's wellbeing so that they can adapt and thrive after their lives have been disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic."


The workshop will draw on the facilitator's extensive work in assisting organisations, local and state government and health authorities in Australia to develop and implement mental wellbeing recovery and/or suicide prevention strategies in response to significant events such as Port Arthur Massacre, closure of major industries in a region, droughts and other natural disasters.

Evaluation of these strategies clearly showed that successful implementation and achieving sustainable impact requires local leadership and a skilled workforce that is knowledgeable of and competent in the application of mental wellbeing theory and principles. This workshops focuses on building organisational and community capability to implement successful mental wellbeing initiatives using COVID-19 recovery as the case study for the two days.

"The Government believes that wellbeing belongs at the heart of policymaking"- 2019 Budget Statement


The government’s strong focus on wellbeing has created a greater awareness of the key role of wellbeing in enabling individuals and communities to thrive. Well individuals contribute to well whānau, schools and workplaces, communities, economies and society.


“Tangata aka ana I te kāenga, te tūranga ki te marae, tau ana.”​ - “A person nurtured in the community contributes strongly to society.”


Mental wellbeing is a holistic approach which is congruent with most indigenous and non-western cultures understanding of health and wellbeing. It is aligned to people’s aspiration of wellbeing for themselves and their whānau. For those living with a mental illness, wellbeing is a cornerstone of the recovery model.


Informed by social, cultural and environmental determinants, adopting a wellbeing framework enables non-health agencies, such as local government, identify how they can be "agents of wellbeing" and so incorporate wellbeing outcomes in their policy development and programme delivery.

"Mental wellbeing is deeply connected to wider wellbeing in our society. We need to embed this understanding in everything we do – within our mental health and addiction system, our wider health and social system, and at every level of society."                

He Ara Oranga – Mental Health and Addiction Inquiry

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Workshop Description

This two day workshop provides a comprehensive overview of the theory and the practice of promoting mental wellbeing in communities and different settings – workplaces and schools. Using the latest research and evidence of efficacy, emphasis will be on participants being able to apply the theory to the practical application in their work context as well as being able to critique and assess the efficacy of different approaches to promoting mental wellbeing.


Drawing on over thirty years of working in mental wellbeing, learnings from designing, implementing and evaluating mental wellbeing programmes including the pitfalls and solutions to common problems that arise will be shared. Participants will have the opportunity to identify a set of wellbeing outcomes and apply them to a wellbeing programme logic. A proven model of collaborative partnerships using the principles of collective impact and transformational change which has been applied in numerous settings and populations will also be examined.


Day 1:

  • Theoretical foundations of mental wellbeing

  • Why mental wellbeing is essential in pandemic recovery

  • The 'new normal" - the role of coping, adjusting and adapting in mental wellbeing

  • The Wheel of Wellbeing (WOW) model

  • Social and cultural determinants of wellbeing

  • Ecological model of wellbeing - the role of place and environment

  • The difference between a mental illness and a mental wellbeing approach

  • Application of mental wellbeing principles to broader health promotion strategies


Day 2:

  • Population vs settings approaches to mental wellbeing

  • Mental wellbeing indicators and outcomes - developing a programme logic 

  • Mental wellbeing programme design, implementation and evaluation

  • Overview of Mental Wellbeing Impact Assessment Tool

  • Collaborative partnerships for wellbeing - whole of community approach

Feedback from other participants

“Barry’s ability to translate research findings into everyday language means I have a much clearer understanding of the principles of wellbeing and how to apply it to my work”

Community Worker

“Barry’s understanding of various cultural models of wellbeing meant I felt included and my culture respected”

Pacific Island Community Leader

“I now have a better understanding of the role of local government in promoting wellbeing and useful strategies on how to apply mental wellbeing outcomes to our Community Plan”

Council Policy Officer

“A holistic approach to wellbeing which included the spiritual dimension”

Church Minister

“So glad I came. Going away with heaps of knowledge and know how to apply in our workplace wellbeing plan. Fantastic opportunity to learn from someone so experienced and knowledgeable ”

Health & Safety and Wellbeing Manager

“Your passion for mental wellbeing made this a thoroughly stimulating workshop”

Health Promoter

“Really appreciated the sociological analysis and your understanding of the impact of inequality, marginalisation and discrimination on people’s wellbeing”

Social Justice Advocate

“Most helpful workshop I have attended in a very long time”

Wellbeing Programme Facilitator

Workshop Locations in 2020

Click on location for workshop details and online registration