Consumer Advisor Mental Health Jordana Bealing
23/07/2020 1:29:02 p.m.

23 July 2020

Jordana Bealing is the Consumer Advisor from LinkPeople. She has recently completed her Masters in Psychology as part of her studies towards becoming a clinical psychologist Her interest in mental health was inspired by her mum who was the counsellor at Jordy's high school.
“I saw how much of an influence she was for the kids she worked with. She was the cool teacher but she also supported and empowered so many of the students that were struggling with their mental health, I wanted to have a career where I could make a difference for people like she did.” 

A big reason she got the consumer advisor role is that she has lived experience of mental health and addictions. As consumer advisor her role is to represent the views and perspectives of service users /consumers of mental health and addiction services at a strategic level. That means influencing systems change and policies along side the consumer advisory group she facilitates at LinkPeople. The group ensures people with lived experience of mental health and addiction services have a voice and help services engage with service users.
Jordy always knew exactly what she wanted. Her dream was to become a clinical psychologist. But after becoming unwell during her first year at University, her dream of becoming a clinical psychologist “went sideways”. She still has hopes of being a clinical psychologist but has found another way to contribute.
“I have more opportunity in this role to influence things and I’m still able to use my skills from university and my personal experience. I’m very excited at the opportunity this role gives me to improve services. The best thing is being encouraged to have a voice and having people open to hearing what it’s like for service users and being able to influence the way services interact with clients in a way that supports recovery that is meaningful to them.”
Jordy says with the love and support of her friends and family she has been able to get well again. She became unwell when she went to University and by the second-year things were pretty bad; her grades dropped, and she could hardly get out of bed. She says she’s been involved in a lot of mental health and addiction services since then. 

“When I was in Hamilton, I saw different doctors, psychologists and heaps of different counsellors. It wasn’t until I came back to Rotorua to be with my family that things started to improve for me. I received the right diagnosis and the right care. That’s what drives me in this job. My experience in Rotorua was very positive and I’d like to see that for other users of mental health and addiction services.” 

A good mental health service, for Jordy means, accepting people’s differences and giving people time and space to work out what’s going on for them, without judgement. 

“I want to be an influence and I want to see improvements for everyone young and old, Maori and non-Maori people being encouraged to have a voice and being heard and respected.”
Jordy sits on local, regional and national consumer advisory boards. She’s involved with the Lakes DHB Zero seclusion project, Te Ara Tauwhirotanga Implementation group, helping to embed the new model of care into services and has a lot to do with the inpatient unit and mental health service clinical governance meetings. 

Jordy, who is of Ngati Raukawa descent, says she’s seen a lot of positive change when it comes to a Maori world view being respected and embraced by mental health services. 

“I’ve lost that part of my identity. It’s an intergenerational thing and I think it’s the case for a lot of other Maori people who become unwell. They can identify with that loss of identity. It’s like having power taken away from you; society is very euro centric. But we are not like that anymore.” 

Jordy says her mental health, and staying well, affects her every day. She needs to manage stress, be self aware and know the triggers. She has tools in her kete to use if she starts to struggle especially sensory modulation; including music, and ASMR. Knowing about her illness and how to manage emotions are now integrated into her life. She knows to avoid triggers, know when things are going down hill and how to come back using support networks and taking time out to relax. 

Jordy says she’s very passionate about peer support services and the experience of acceptance and equality because people have experienced similar things to you. 

“I’m a people person. For me I find empowerment being around other people who have been on their own journey and we gain strength from each other being open about our stories. Other people may add to your kete, inspire and teach you new things and you can get strength through their story.”