Collaboration over substance problems seen as key

University of Otago chancellor Royden Somerville QC caps Andre McLachlan at a recent university graduation ceremony in the Dunedin Town Hall. Dr McLachlan is accompanied by two of his children, Tama Dalbeth (3, left) and Te Ahuru o te Rangi McLachlan (5).
University of Otago chancellor Royden Somerville QC caps Andre McLachlan at a recent university graduation ceremony in the Dunedin Town Hall. Dr McLachlan is accompanied by two of his children, Tama Dalbeth (3, left) and Te Ahuru o te Rangi McLachlan (5). Photo: Stephen Jaquiery
Many people shifting to rural areas because of urban housing shortages are striking problems because of inadequate mental health services, Andre McLachlan says.

Dr McLachlan is a clinical psychologist who graduated from the University of Otago last weekend with a doctorate focusing on collaboration with, and for, rural Maori with substance use and related problems.

It was vital a collaborative community and family-based approach was adopted, bringing together health, mental health and social services support to meet community needs in dealing with substance use problems, he said.

''It's all about collaborative process, working in with community and family.''

It was also important for health providers to know the history of the area they were working in, and for the community to set its own priorities, he said.

Dr McLachlan lives in Whatawhata, near Hamilton, and undertook his eight years of study through the university's Christchurch campus. His supervisors were at the university's Maori/Indigenous Health Institute and the department of psychological medicine's National Addiction Centre.

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