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Profile: Leigh Murray, family advisor at Auckland DHB

Mental health & addiction quality improvement
08 October 2019

Leigh Murray works for Auckland District Health Board (DHB) mental health services as a family advisor. Leigh recently presented at the Commission's mental health and addiction (MHA) quality improvement programme's Te tūhono i ngā manaakitanga | Connecting Care learning session in Auckland on 7 August 2019 on the consumer, family and whānau experience of transitions. She is based at Greenlane Clinical Centre.

Leigh Murray, family advisor at Auckland District Health Board.

'I see my role as providing systemic advocacy. My aim is to advocate for whānau and support Auckland DHB staff to work effectively with families.

'Auckland DHB has a family whānau perspectives group which provides a structured process for six whānau members to contribute to service improvement on a regular basis.

'I provide training and education for staff on working with whānau and also coordinate a family connections programme in Auckland DHB. This a 12-week dialectal behavioural therapy skills-based course for families supporting someone who has very strong, hard-to-control emotions – or a diagnosis of borderline personality disorder. Outcomes for families include decreased burden, grief, depression and anxiety.

'I love seeing families empowered through good systems and processes. And through education and information. It’s also great to see staff understanding the importance of their role in supporting the person and their whānau to make a good transition back into the community.

'A group that has often missed out on getting the support they need, especially at times of transition, are parents with mental health and addiction needs and their children.

'In New Zealand the Supporting Parents Healthy Children (SPHC) initiative, led by Werry Workforce Whāraurau in partnership with other workforce centres, provides guidance to adult mental health services on systems, policies and practices that support whānau-focused practice with a strong focus on healthy parent-child relationships.'

The SPHC website has great resources for parents, children, whānau and professionals.

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