I want youth voices to be heard

Latest News 17 August 2020| Only one month into the job, Angela Hann, Youth Consumer Advisor, Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS), has a clear view on what she wants to bring to the role and to the young people she works with.

“I want youth voices to be heard. I want the service to be shaped by the people it is made for. I want our youth community to have a better quality of life now and going into adulthood. I want to encourage our young people to access help for their mental health when they need it and also develop the skills to help themselves as well as others. Together, we can save lives,” says Angela.

The only Youth Consumer Advisor in our area, Angela is responsible for bringing a youth perspective to Mental Health & Addictions services and providing advice to the teams involved.

One of the reasons Angela chose to work at Counties Manukau Health (CM Health) is her strong connection to South Auckland.

“I grew up here and can see myself in the youth of South Auckland. My parents came as refugees from Cambodia in the late 70s and settled here. I left to study a BBiomedSc (Bachelor of Biomedical Sciences) at Otago University, but have now returned back to South Auckland after completing my studies. ”

The other reason was that Angela had already had an insightful experience working as a Community Engagement Coordinator for the Community Flu Fighters programme led by the Asian Health team while looking for full-time work.

“(Asian Health Gain Advisor) Kitty Ko was looking for a Cambodian person to connect with the Cambodian community to get them to participate in the community vaccination programme. I really enjoyed reconnecting with my Cambodian culture and community and they really appreciated me giving back. I even started going to the temple’s Sunday school to better my Khmer language skills.”

From a young age, Angela wanted to work in healthcare but her passion for mental health was discovered at university.

“I witnessed my peers struggling to manage their mental health and many of them did not engage with the healthcare system. This helped me understand the barriers young people face when seeking mental health support.”

“In the Counties Manukau region, many young people, including Asian and Pacific youth, have immigrant parents, which add to the complexity when helping our young people. Many of us disregard our mental health concerns when comparing our hardships to our parents’. As a service, we need to tap into the specific needs of our young people. I hope to enlighten the team with the knowledge I bring from my own background while also advocating for members of our diverse community to be heard.”

Since starting, Angela has been surprised by how CM Health’s values resonate with her own. “I’ve been enjoying working here. People are very inviting and friendly and it is a very supportive environment. I like the MDT (multidisciplinary team) meetings in the mornings, when the whole diverse team come together to discuss case by case – and there is always food!”

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community mental health

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