Te Whare Tapa Whā helps us to reimagine being well together

25 September 2020

With Mental Health Week drawing to an end, the Chair of Tu Te Akaaka Roa – New Zealand National Committee at the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists (RANZCP) has spoken on the importance of taking the time to reflect upon your own mental wellbeing and think about how you might support your whānau and those close to you.

‘The COVID-19 situation has created uncertainty and made us all a little anxious,’ said Dr Mark Lawrence.

‘It’s all right to acknowledge that you might need some help to get back on track and at times like this, it’s useful to think about the wisdom of Te Whare Tapa Wha’ 

‘Te Whare Tapa Whā, developed by a psychiatrist, Tā Mason Durie, is a holistic approach that helps us all to understand wellbeing.

‘It’s a delicate balancing act where our physical, spiritual, whānau and mental health must all be aligned for us to live well.

‘To re-imagine being well together we need to focus on these four dimensions.

‘Keeping physically fit (taha tinana) improves mental wellbeing so this week make it a priority to go for a walk or do some outdoor activity.

‘The COVID-19 pandemic demonstrated to us all the importance of maintaining good support systems, checking-in on each other and staying in touch.  Make time to connect with your whānau, neighbours and colleagues (taha whānau). 

‘Evidence suggests that being socially connected is strongly associated with better mental wellbeing.’

Dr Lawrence also emphasised the importance of doing something for yourself to maintain your mental health and wellbeing.

‘Care for your tahu wairua (spiritual health) and focus on taha hinengaro (mental health),’ said Dr Lawrence.

‘Make sure you do things you enjoy, to relax and reduce stress. It might be time to start a new hobby, discover mindfulness or yoga, or just appreciate your surroundings.

‘Remember we can draw strength from each other.

‘So let us re-imagine wellbeing together – with our whanau, with our friends, with our community and at our workplace.’

The Mental Health Awareness week website provides further ideas to fuel your wairua and improve your mental wellbeing.

For all other expert mental health information, visit Your Health in Mind, the RANZCP’s consumer health information website.

ENQUIRIES: For more information, or to arrange an interview call Sarah Carr on +61 437 315 911, or email media@ranzcp.org.