One of the four dimensions of well being (Te whare tapa wha), which is a focus for the NI Unit, is physical well being.
In order to rule out any health issues that might affect the men’s future employment options or their quality of life, they will receive various medical services free of charge.
This is made possible by compassionate health care professionals including the Settlers Health Centre, Bay Audiology Papanui and Christchurch Eye Surgery, who are generously offering their expertise to the Tu Ora in the NI Unit.
Settlers Health Centre will regularly supply basic medical screening to identify health needs. The Centre has been providing post release treatments for Pathway Reintegration Services since opening in 2010 and they will now continue to develop relationships with the Tu Ora in the NI, hoping to walk the journey with them towards recovery and prevention from re-offending.
Settlers Health Centre is willing to commit to this because the “NI seeks to offer comprehensive, wrap-around services that are committed 100% to prisoner reintegration. Pathway ‘walks the talk’.”
When asked why it is important to be part of the NI, Dr. Jeremy Baker answered: “Time and again we are stunned by the depth of the conversations we can reach with men who have otherwise been written off and marginalised. These are individuals with an openness to make changes because they are often at the very depths of loss of self-esteem and sense of self-worth. Yet the wisdom and passion that they reveal alerts us that they are hungry for something better. Many of them go on to a commitment to God and make changes to the families and communities around them.”
Christchurch Eye Surgery offers medical eye checks and reports, which can lead to treatments in the private sector or targeted referral into the public health system or local optometrists. After realising that many inmates and ex-prisoners have visual issues that may contribute to learning and social disabilities, be a factor in committing crime, and impacting reintegration back into the workplace and wider community, it was important to Dr. Malcolm McKellar to see “these guys ‘flourish’ and be the best they can be, since all these guys are from and will return to my community.”
In his previous experience working with Pathway, he has found “working with Pathway staff and being involved in the mentoring program challenging and rewarding. Mentoring has helped me to better see Christ in people.”
Part of Malcolm’s inspiration lies within his own story: “Good men, who took an interest, have been very important in my life. Many of these guys in prison are not that much different to those of us with better resources...”
Bay Audiology Papanui will provide Diagnostic Hearing Assessments and a thorough Needs Assessment for the Tu Ora. If they have a hearing loss that needs treating, Bay Audiology Papanui can assist with applying for funding to help purchase hearing aids, or access hearing aids within their
Free to Ear program.
Anna McMillan and her team were delighted to collaborate within the NI, because: “The ability to communicate well is SO important. Hearing loss makes people more at risk of social isolation and depression; it can have negative effects on memory and is associated with an increased risk of cognitive problems and dementia.
We don’t want hearing loss to be yet another factor that people who have been in prison must fight to overcome.”
She continues, “I was very impressed by Carey’s genuine concern for the inmates. He made it easy to see how Pathway is helping to make our communities a safer place, and more importantly how it is changing the lives of those individuals to move towards a much brighter future.
We want to contribute to the NI’s work by helping people who might otherwise never have the confidence or means to come to see us by themselves, to create a more level playing field for every person.”