How to Find Family and Community Support Services Near Me
Having young children is the most important and demanding time of a person’s life. As a baby grows and develops, so does the new family. In a healthy community, the wider network of friends and whānau nurture and support the new family in their journey, but many families in New Zealand today just don't have those strong community connections that were so common a generation or two ago.
What Types of Family and Community Support Services Are There?
Family and community support services exist to fill this gap. They specialize in offering financial, emotional, physical, spiritual, and social support to families struggling in a given area.
It’s important to remember that all of these areas are connected. Mason Drury’s Te Whare Tapa Wha model provides a good way of understanding these connections. He depicts the physical (tinana), mental (heningaro), spiritual (wairua), and social (whanau) dimensions of wellbeing as each being a separate pillar of the whare (house). For the whare to be strong, each of these pillars must be strong, and if one is a bit wobbly, the whole house gets a bit shaky too.
When Should I Reach Out For Support?
If you or your loved ones are in crisis, then don’t wait any longer. There are a range of support services designed to meet the needs of families struggling with serious addictions, mental health concerns, violence, self-harm, or homelessness. The police, women’s refuge, lifeline, and your local food bank are just some of the front line services that can help support a family in crisis.
Kiwis are quick to turn down a helping hand, and we don’t talk much about our private struggles, but everyone needs support sometimes. Even if you’re just struggling a bit with some of the above issues, maybe your finding it difficult to meet your basic expenses this month, then it could be time to look around and see what support are available to you and your family.
Good support services know that it is way easier to give a struggling family a nudge in the right direction, than try to pick up the pieces of a family that is already in crisis.
What if I Need Financial Support?
Work and Income (WINZ) are the largest and most readily available support service for families struggling to meet their basic expenses. There are also a range of local and regional Non-Government Organizations (NGOs) that offer support directly to families struggling to meet their basic financial needs.
These include food banks, micro-lenders, WINZ advocates (to help you get what you are entitled to through WINZ), and budgeting services.
What if I Need Emotional/Psychological Support?
If you are struggling with persistant low mood or suicidality, then we recommend you talk about this with your GP.
However, if you or a family member is struggling to cope with a change in life circumstances, then their are a range of support services offering emotional and psychological support. These include support groups, peer-to-peer supports, individual and family therapy, life coaching, and much more.
Services will generally specialize in dealing with grief and loss, relationship breakdown, illness, family harm, migration, or other stressful life event.
What if I Need Practical Hel?
Everybody needs a hand at some time or another. Whether you have an injury, lost your job, or just brought a piano.
Family and community servics will often offer help where it is needed, but the best place to find a helping hand is often local community groups and associations. Check out the local facebook page, lions association, or club, and you might be surprised at how many helpfull people do live just around the corner.
What if I Need A Social Group?
As hilighted above, social networks are so importnat for meeting the needs of a growing family. Parent Village is working to develop social groups for new parents and caregivers, and if you are interested in knowing more, please get in touch.
However, there are already a host of fantastic social groups for parents and caregivers out there. These might simply be child friendly exercize groups, play groups, and other parent groups, or they might be specialized online communities or mental health support groups.
Find a support network near me.
The amazing thing you learn when you reach out for help, is that there are so many wonderful professionals and community members willing to offer a support. It is a fundumental human need to contribute to the community, and by reaching out for help, we are also giving someone that opportunity.
Author: Parent Village aims to provide useful and relevant information to parents and caregivers.