Jason Haitana (Northland District Health Board)

Nominee/entrant details

Jason Haitana, Consumer and Family Leader, Mental Health & Addictions

Employer details

Northland District Health Board

Size: 1,000-4,999 staff

Industry: Health Care and Social Assistance

Background on entrant/nominee's employer

Northland DHB is a Crown Agent under section 7 of the Crown Entities Act 2004. Responsible for providing or funding health and disability services for the people of Northland, the DHB covers a large geographical area from Te Hana in the south to Cape Reinga in the north. The DHB employs 3,086 staff. Acute services are provided through the DHB’s four hospitals, at Whangarei, Dargaville, Kawakawa and Kaitaia. These services are supplemented by a network of community-based, outpatient and mental health services, a range of allied health services, and a public and population health unit.

Executive summary

Jason is someone who demonstrates authenticity in his work when is comes to mental health. By the very role he holds he is proudly proclaiming himself as someone with lived experience of mental health challenges, thus helping to break the cycle of stigma and discrimination around MH. Jason is the co-chair for the National Association for Mental Health Services Consumer Advisors (NAMHSCA). The impact of Jason being co-chair is that more of the lived experience workforce is kept up to date on what is happening across Aotearoa, we are more connected through zoom, which helps us support each other more.

Authenticity and vulnerability

Jason shows authenticity in his work by the very role he holds he is proudly proclaiming himself as someone with lived experience of mental health challenges. Only someone with lived experience can be a Consumer Advisor. He shows vulnerability through sharing his own lived experience with staff in education and training sessions, sharing from his own personal experiences to assist staff with their understanding and knowledge of what is important in terms of mental health. Jason is bright, charismatic, and humorous, he will go out of his way to brighten someone’s day. He will always be the first to respond to an email request from his colleagues for information or support and if he doesn’t know the answer, he will go and find out. He is up front who he is as a person and what his experiences have been and is a great role model for those of us that are new to working tin MH let along in a role where speaking about your lived experience is a common occurrence. He reminds people that there is no shame in having a mental illness, and it is an honour for us to be in a role where we are the voice of people with lived experience.

Courage and leadership

Jason is the co-chair for the National Association for Mental Health Services Consumer Advisors (NAMHSCA). NAMHSCA is a working at a national level to improve mental health for all. He is currently working on MOUs with the Health Quality and Safety Commission and the Mental Health Wellbeing Commission. Jason shows courage because he is not scared to ask the difficult questions when it comes to improving services for those experiencing MH &/or addiction challenges. At the recent NAMHSCA hui when we had speakers from many national organisations, he would often be the person asking the questions about what is happening to improve services and ensure lived experience were a key part of the picture. Being a leader in this field is no small feat, the fact that he is a leader in his own rohe as the Consumer Advisor as well as the Co-Chair of NAMHSCA shows that he has exceptional leadership skills and courage, reaching out to other leaders in this field to ensure that we are all connected and on the same waka.

Engagement and communication

In terms of NAMHSCA, which is how we know Jason he regularly keeps the group updated on what is happening across Aotearoa. He has set up monthly zoom meetings with different topics and speakers, so that we as a group can work more effectively in our various roles. He recognises when his colleagues may be struggling and will go to great lengths to ensure they are okay and feel supported. He will also provide one on one support for his colleagues to be a mentor and a support person for them. He engages and communicates with staff in a way that is both mana-enhancing and filled with aroha and manaaki, whilst also ensuring that he is consistently advocating for the needs of people with lived experience.


The impact of Jason being co-chair for NAMHSCA is that more of the lived experience workforce is kept up to date on what is happening across Aotearoa, we are more connected now using zoom, this helps us to support each other more. We share our successes, which helps us each to ensure good work is spread across mental health and addiction services around the country, and commiserate during the tough times. Whilst NAMHSCA still meets in person, Jason’s initiative to move to monthly zoom meetings ensures that we as a group have regular contact with one another and reduces the isolation that we often feel in our individual roles. He is constantly thinking of ways to increase business outcomes for the group by networking with national stakeholders such as Mental Health Foundation, Ministry of Health and Mental Health & Wellbeing Commission, to increase awareness about NAMHSCA and recognition of the importance of the lived experience and peer workforce.


Jason is passionate about inclusive practice, his focus with the massive transition the health sector is going through at the moment is on future planning, and ensuring that all of the below is happening throughout the process: • partnership with Māori • involvement of Pacific providers • community engagement • cross-sectorial working • integrated models of care or provider integration • alliance arrangements • data sharing, intelligence and governance. While, at the individual level Jason is absolutely inclusive in his practice, at our NAMHSCA hui he makes sure everyone has the opportunity to speak. We each have the opportunity to be heard and listened to, no one person’s voice or perspective is valued over the others in the group.

Innovation and creativity

Again, we would speak from the perspective of his being co-chair of NAMHSCA. He has shown innovation, because he has now connected the members of NAMHSCA more regularly through the monthly zoom meetings, which in the past we have not had there have only been the two face to face hui each year and emails exchanged.

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Referee details

Sally Kirk, Consumer Advisor Mental Health Addictions & Intellectual Disability (Southern District Health Board)

0273066001 • [email protected]

Key contact

Sherida Davy - submitting on behalf of National Association of MH Services Consumer Advisors, Consumer Participation Coordinator, Mental Health & Addictions Services (Bay of Plenty District Health Board)

0274066635 • [email protected]

6 Months
Since posted
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