Objectives: The Tangata Mahi Pai (people doing good things) pilot programme aimed to support AoD help seekers with non-clinical needs to build on their skills, strengths, wellbeing and resilience through engagement in positive activities for the community. It also intended to triage participants with more intensive dependence issues to clinical AoD services. 

What is it? A non-clinical daily programme of positive activity, from labour on community facilities to the creative arts and community events. Referrals came from a community network, and the programme was available to both volunteers and people with or recovering from issues with AoD, mental health and self-defeating behaviours.

Results:  Several positive outcomes were achieved, although stakeholder funding and support would be needed to maintain the programme in future.  Outcomes for the community included clean up of the local river bed, improvements to local gardens, a marae and a reserve and support for local events. Positive results for the 24 participants included:

  • Entry to study, training and employment (12 people)
  • Referrals to AoD/mental health services (6 people)
  • Reduced drug use and related harms, including heavy use of synthetic drugs 
  • One family group no longer using methamphetamine
  • Improved self-esteem

Starting on the programme gives you a sense of purpose in the morning. Getting up, putting on the shirt, getting picked up going out into the local community, which is another positive. Getting out there and making a difference. For myself it was taking my mind off needing or relying on it [synthetic cannabis] during the day” - participant

Useful insights were identified:

  • The influence one person or ‘enabler’ can have in maintaining drug use and ultimately ending drug use within their larger group or family unit.
  • Practicalities of activity programmes include the time, cost and capacity to provide supervision and manage work-site health and safety. Council and stakeholder support is needed to help fill these gaps.
  • Support is needed from suitable clinical agencies or services to guide non-clinical support and assessment of participants needing greater assistance.   




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