2024 will mark the 10th anniversary of Equally Well in Aotearoa New Zealand.  This will be a great opportunity to celebrate our collaborative achievements and well as identify what we need to continue championing towards physical health equity for tangata whai ora.

2024 Influenza immunisation update

Pharmac has announced the 2024 free flu vaccine eligibility criteria for around one million New Zealanders. This is now available at local pharmacies, GP practices and other private immunisation providers.

The flu vaccine is free for people with specific mental health conditions which includes schizophrenia, major depressive disorder, bipolar disorder, or schizoaffective disorder, and people who are currently accessing secondary or tertiary mental health and addiction services. Further information is available on their website.

Know me before you jab me

Hannah Whittaker-Komatsu, the Director of Lived Experience at Manatū Hauora and an Equally Well champion, took the stage as a presenter at the New Zealand Influenza & COVID-19 Symposium 2024. In her enlightening presentation titled “Know me before you jab me,” she made the call to understand relationships as the foundation for physical health.

The call to “know me” me asks professionals to critically reflect on the role psychiatric “diagnosis” plays in their understanding of the person and their whānau.  She questioned how a reliance on diagnosis as a primary source of insight can fundamentally damage the relationship with health services. Utilising her lived experience story, she laid out the hopeful vision that health professionals can build transformational one 15-minute appointment at a time.  With a focus on fostering empathy and informed decision-making, recognising the diverse needs and concerns, these relationships not only bring physical health outcomes for the person they are connecting to, but they can also change the intergenerational story of health services into the future.

This kaupapa further reinforces the message of the SEE US campaign, aiding the collaborative in raising awareness about the crucial issue of preventing diagnostic overshadowing for tangata whai ora.


Diagnostic overshadowing: Introducing Tupuānuku research – explore new resources.

The Equally Well website now has information from the Tupuānuku research. This includes links to journal articles and other resources including a new lived experience video on diagnostic overshadowing, and what you can do about it as someone using health services or supporting someone to use them. The resource was developed in collaboration with StoryBox and the University of Otago.

Explore now 

2024 Equally Well forum Australia – Embedding lived experience

Simon Kozak, the head of marketing and communications at Ember, and one of the members of the backbone team has been invited to the 2024 Equally Well forum – Embedding lived experience, 27 and 28 of May 2024 in Melbourne, to present on the SEE US campaign and the pilot developed last year in partnership with Pharmacy Guild of New Zealand (PGNZ).

This forum is for experts by experience and allies to present their latest innovation, research, challenges, and insights on the physical health of people living with mental illness.

Know more

Smokefree legislation in New Zealand

Some of our Equally Well champions have joined efforts to advocate against the smokefree legislation repeal since last year. As a collaborative, we believe that there is still a lot to do in this space.
We have developed a downloadable resource to support champions to:

  • Understand the elements of the smokefree legislation and the implications of the repeal.
  • Outline the evidence underpinning the smokefree legislation.
  • Advocate for informed discussions on the smokefree legislation proposals within their communities and networks.
  • Effectively communicate the public health benefits associated with maintaining or strengthening a smokefree legislation.

Know more

Ngā Waka o Matariki – Evaluation thoughts

In February, our first Equally Well lunchtime gathering of the year was held. The primary focus of this space was to reconnect with Ngā Waka o Matariki, the Māori health strategy for Equally Well, with Tui Taurua leading the discussion. Tui took us through the lines of the whakatauki, their meaning and relevance, and took us on a trip in the waka to align ourselves with the Matariki stars and the importance of applying Māori wisdom into our collective impact strategy.

Some key points about the significance of this framework were:

• Everything starts with an idea.
• Partnership: Everyone in the waka working together to influence change. The Ngā Waka o Matariki strategy is Māori led and enhanced.
• The strategy aims to achieve a healthier quality of life for all by unifying our work towards the improvement of Māori lives inclusive of others discovering their pathway.
• After we all come together, we need to gain momentum. the river surges. The strength of unity is our momentum of power.

If you would like to know more about this framework, please contact us: info@equallywell.co.nz

Equally Well UK Match

Equally Well UK will host an international group of mental health leaders under the theme A Right to Life: The international Equally Well movement – during the 2024 Global Leadership Exchange Week (24 – 28 June 2024).

The Global Leadership Exchange is a week-long learning event held every two years by one of the participating countries.  This year it is being held in the Netherlands. It is an opportunity for participants to share leadership experiences and insights about our common goal of finding solutions improve health, wellbeing, and services for people with a disability, mental health or substance use problems.

Representatives from the diverse community of Equally Well supporters from the UK, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the United States, including lived experience experts, policy makers, clinicians, service providers, researchers and funders will participate in the match. On the agenda the group will work to finalise an Equally Well Scorecard that will help measure impact and progress being made towards our shared goal of increasing life expectancy and improving health outcomes for people living with mental illness.

Find out more