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Community and Public Health on the West Coast (Greymouth)

Nearly 33,000 people live in the Buller, Grey and Westland Districts – a 400 km long region between the Southern Alps and the Tasman Sea. This makes the West Coast one of the most sparsely populated regions in New Zealand. The remote nature of many small and isolated communities poses specific health challenges around sewage treatment and disposal, and potable water.

The natural beauty of the area attracts more than 1 million visitors a year, largely during the spring and summer months. This level of tourist activity carries some environmental risks for recreational water contamination and infectious diseases, especially in popular destinations such as Fox and Franz Josef Glaciers and Punakaiki. The predominantly young and transient population of tourists and those employed in the tourism industry creates concerns around safe sexual behaviours and responsible alcohol use.

Enabling wellbeing and equity of outcomes for everyone on the West Coast

The health promotion team supports improving and maintaining the health and wellbeing (hauora) of West Coasters by connecting communities and supporting the creation of healthy and sustainable environments (inlcuding early childhood education and schools). Current initiatives focus on:

  • mental wellbeing;
  • Māori health;
  • healthy eating;
  • physical activity;
  • healthy ageing and injury prevention;
  • supporting smoke-free environments; and
  • working alongside key stakeholders to reduce alcohol related harm.

Community and Public Health is a partner in Active West Coast – working with District Councils to improve and promote hauora on the West Coast. The Westland Recreation is open and well used by the community, and major developments are occurring in Buller and Westland as part of their new physical activity strategy. Staff are also contributing to the development of a region-wide walking and cycling strategy.

The Greymouth office has a Community Health Information Centre, providing a range of health education resources from the Ministry of Health and other providers.

Help to make the back to school transition less stressful

Summer holidays are almost over, and the school year is about to begin. Children may be starting school, moving to another class with a new teacher, or having to make new friends.

These changes can be stressful for children and parents. Some children may worry about what lies ahead, and find it hard to sleep, have a sore tummy, or become upset more easily than usual.

You can help support your child by talking with them about their school day. Go over the morning routine at home and what’ll happen when they first get to school, such as where their classroom will be and who they may know in their class. Talk about things such as where they might eat their lunch, what to do if they have no one to play with, and what happens after school.

  • Let your children be part of getting ready for the new school year as much as possible – by choosing a new lunch box or going shopping for stationery for example.
  • Encourage your child to start going to bed at a reasonable hour and getting up early towards the end of the holidays – to establish a familiar rhythm before school starts.
  • Practice saying goodbye. This might be one of the biggest challenges for them if they’re just starting school!

Back to school is a transition for parents too: re-establishing routines, an empty house during the day, and possible afterschool meltdowns from your child. Your child has had to hold it together the whole day dealing with a lot of new things and it can be exhausting! Take the time to listen, acknowledge their distress, and provide support and space to help your child feel calmer. Take time to care for you too and be kind to yourselves and each other.

Oranga Hā – Tai Poutini: Free smokefree support on the West Coast

Oranga Hā – Tai Poutini/ Stop Smoking West Coast offers free support to help West Coasters stop smoking.

You will recieve a personalised stop smoking programme after an initial face-to-face meeting. This programme could include face-to-face meetings, texting, videoing, skyping, emails or attending group sessions. You will also receive free Nicotine Replacement Therapy as part of this customised support – patches, gum and lozenges.

Oranga Hā – Tai Poutini also offers the pregnancy incentive for the pregnant mother and the new extended programme if other whānau supporting the mother also stop smoking.


Links

Healthinfo West Coast.

Page last updated: 17/01/2020

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