Robert Street Clinic director Kyle MacDonald has launched a new weekly health column in the New Zealand Herald in a bid to further fight against the stigma associated with mental health and wellbeing in New Zealand.
Already no stranger to Kiwi mainstream media – MacDonald is a regular commentator on mental health issues and funding, as well as a regular on Mike King’s Newstalk ZB radio show The Nutters Club – his decision to answer readers’ questions in the Herald’s Life & Style section is driven by the desire to open up conversations about mental health, lift the lid on preconceptions and explain some of the principles behind treatment.
The first two readers’ emails dealt with combining therapy with anti-depressant medication and offering advice about mindfulness and meditation. And MacDonald says these are typical of the questions which people contacting Robert Street Clinic for the first time tend to ask.
“I’m a firm believer in gathering together as many ‘tools’ as possible to help people make changes in their lives – these can include the therapeutic relationship between the client and therapist, mindfulness and exercise, as well as a more basic understanding of how these tools work,” MacDonald says.
“The point of answering readers’ questions is to give people the building blocks on which to base their decision to seek or continue to make changes in their life due to struggles with issues such as anxiety, depression, addiction or relationship problems. The column is designed to start conversations about mental health and therapy, as well as helping to shed some light on basic preconceptions and principles.”
MacDonald told the New Zealand Herald that, after more than 15 years as a psychotherapist, what mattered most was to ensure that people could get access to the help they needed. And for that to happen, it was important that mental health issues took a prominent position across all types off media.
“I think we need to now be talking more and educating people about what good treatment looks like, so as a county we can ask for, and lobby if necessary, for best practice treatments to be funded and available. As a country, and the depression and suicide stats tell us this, we all need to be thinking moe about what good mental health looks like and how to stay mentally and emotionally well,” he tells the Herald.
If you have any questions relating to therapy or mental health, you can contact Robert Street Clinic directly. The clinic offers a range of psychologists, psychotherapists and psychiatrists skilled in individual, family and child therapy, and experienced in treating issues such as anxiety, depression, addiction, eating disorders and relationship counselling.