What We Do » Refugees as Survivors (RASNZ)

National Refugee Resettlement Centre at Mangere - RASNZ Mental Health Assessment and Treatment Team

RASNZ is the lead mental health agency for all incoming United Nations quota refugees entering New Zealand. Under international humanitarian conventions, the RAS Clinical Team additionally delivers specialist mental health services for convention refugees and asylum seekers either in detention or with cases before the Refugee Appeals Authority. Based at the Mangere Refugee Reception Centre, the multidisciplinary team brings together the combined specialist skills of a group of clinical psychologists, nurses, psychiatrists, physiotherapists, occupational and body work therapists, plus 90 interpreters and cross-cultural workers to assess and treat refugees who have experienced trauma or torture. The effects of post traumatic stress disorder are only one dimension of experience for many refugees from diverse cultural and linguistic backgrounds. Others often experience grief, depression, anxiety and complex mental health issues which may sometimes be related to physical and medical problems such as head or body injury. Intakes of between 130-150 refugees arrive from all over the world every eight weeks. The mission of the Mangere Clinical Team is to deliver comprehensive assessment, initial treatment, orientation, and resettlement planning input. Refugees are referred by UNHCR, INZ, Red Cross, or AUT, and we work very closely with Public Health Services on the unique Mangere ‘one-stop-shop’ campus and, particularly with Refugee Services Aotearoa NZ in resettlement planning and follow-up. Between 40%-50% of incoming refugees are settled in Auckland. RASNZ provides referral and specialist clinical consultation follow-up to DHB and PHO mainstream community health services across the country where refugees are settled.

RASNZ Health Promotion and Refugee Community Development Team

Smoking cessation programmes, child and maternal health, injury prevention, stopping family violence, drug and alcohol abuse prevention, parenting, fire prevention and personal safety, anti-gambling education, human rights, women’s health, Dr Arif Saeid leads the Community Services Team which consists of 15 Community Facilitators working within the Afghan, Burmese, Burundian, Iranian, Iraqi, Somalian and Sudanese communities. This essential work is in empowering refugees to begin new, productive and content lives in New Zealand. Understanding and accessing the health system, and community development such as women's support groups and youth activities are one part of this.

Celebrating Success groups focus on children and adolescents, self-esteem, human potential, career and life planning for refugee women. These action-oriented groups help with the transition from the Mangere Refugee Centre to an independent and fulfilling life in the wider community. Follow-up groups run by trained and supervised Refugee Community Facilitators are operating in a range of locations across metropolitan Auckland.

The RISI Refugees In Sport Initiative is operated through grants by Auckland City and sponsorship from Stirling Sports to help children from refugee backgrounds better integrate into wider New Zealand society through participation in mainstream sport. We provide the “50%” fund to help children and families afford equipment and fees, and also work with key sports groups to insure ‘passports for accessibility.

Road Safety Programme: The programme also provides incoming refugees at the MRRC with road safety and (translated and interpreted) drivers licensing training. There is over a 90% pass rate. RAS considers that ability to drive and mobility leads to better mental health and settlement outcomes for refugees by reducing isolation and improving prospects for employment.

RASNZ Auckland Regional Refugee Mobile Team

The Auckland Regional Refugee Mobile Community Clinical Team is a new service of RASNZ which was launched in November, 2007. This innovative pilot initiative is committed to providing quality community mental health services to diverse former refugee communities throughout the greater Auckland region. The Mobile Team provides refugees with high accessibility to quality, culturally-responsive specialist mental health and support services to assist positive resettlement throughout metropolitan Auckland. Operating via hybrid eco-vehicles, the team moves around on a circuit and delivers services directly into communities such as Mt Roskill, Glen Innes, Beachhaven and North Shore, Manukau, and Henderson.

The Mobile Team is a multidisciplinary specialist unit comprising psychologists, psychiatrists, doctor, nurse, social worker and six refugee community link workers representing the Afghan, Burmese, Somali, Iraqi, Ethiopian, Sudanese, and Kurdish communities . The Mobile Team travels into refugee communities for maximum accessibility and provides mental health services in assessment, intervention, counselling, social work, body therapies and a range of culturally responsive clinical therapies for trauma, family, and resettlement issues.

The role of the team is to provide specialist assessments, counselling, psychiatry, psychological treatment, family therapy, social work, advocacy, and community support for refugees who experience mental health problems. Services assist clients to overcome past trauma, and to enhance their well-being in resettlement in order to better build new lives in New Zealand. To overcome language barriers and deliver culturally responsive treatment, the Refugee Mobile Team provides trained interpreters and community link workers who understand the culture and language of clients. Capacity Building

The Refugee Mobile Team also consults, trains and collaborates with mainstream mental health services, to assist them in working more effectively with refugees from diverse cultural and linguistic backgrounds. In some cases, the team will work together with mainstream providers, and in complex or high needs cases will manage cases and deliver treatment directly.

Criteria for Eligibility & Costs

Adults, children and families from refugee backgrounds who experience mental health related issues. All services are provided free of charge.

CALD Competency Training National Programme: Capacity Building in Workforce Development

This is a collaborative joint venture between RASNZ and Asian Health Services of Waitemata District Health Board in CALD (Culturally and Linguistically Diverse) Training for Health Practitioners who may work with refugees or migrants. Over the course of 2007 the WDHB and RAS collaboratively developed a range of CALD resources including a practical desk reference and CD-Rom and training manuals and materials. Through funding by the Te Pou Wings Innovation Fund, the partners are rolling out over 2008 -2009 the CALD national pilot training in Auckland, Hamilton, Palmerston North, Nelson, and Christchurch. Training involves cultural responsiveness, details of key aspects of models and understandings of mental health for different cultures, clinicians working with interpreters and interpreters working with clinicians, special considerations for working with refugee and Asian migrant clients and populations and cross-cultural consultants. The application of follow-up for direct clinical consultations applying live remote video-conferencing technology is an innovative development allowing the training to translate into practical application in the field.