Otago Polytechnic
Waitati children Jens Hilligsoe 2 Feb 2014 CC BY 3.0

Children's mental wellness

A group of Nursing students have helped local children learn about getting support to improve mental health.

Waitati is a small community north of Dunedin. When investigating the health and wellbeing of this community, Nursing students Regan Gilchrist, Samantha Lobb and Amy Logie learned from key stakeholders that youth mental health was an issue here.

Their further research, under Dr Jean Ross' supervision, identified that most mental health disorders have their beginnings when people are aged 12 to 24.  Furthermore 10% of children aged 5 to 16 have a clinically diagnosable mental health condition, and 70% of these do not have appropriate interventions. This problem is exacerbated for children living in rural areas which have reduced access to health services.

In response to this identified need, the students decided to write a children's book. "Being Piglet" tells the story about a child who is friendless and bullied at school, and how he found help. Produced in a very limited edition, copies of the book were donated by the students to the Waitati School and to the local community library.

Image credit: Jens Hilligsoe, used under Creative Commons licence CC BY 2.0

October 2018