PHCN mental health and addiction credentialing


In 2013 eight primary health care nurses achieved a credential in mental health and addictions – the first group in New Zealand - following a training course offered by Manaia Health PHO in collaboration with the Northland DHB Community MH & A team. Credentialing assists nurses to build their capacity and capability to respond to, and meet the mental health and addiction needs of people in their communities.



Primary Healthcare Nurses in Northland- working to the full extent of their scope of practice.


“Now we are nursing the way we were meant to.”


“Listening and being mindful of what is truly important”







From Left: Judith Hall, Suzie Costelloe, Suzanne Mackay, Donna Kuljish, Robynann Dyson, Chris Hutchinson, Jann Leaming, Veronique Norstrand

Credentialed nurses from Northland expressed their gratitude for the opportunity to participate in the six training days over a six month period. The nurses describe an improved level of confidence in caring for people in their community -  and are quick to highlight that mental health should not be seen as a separate part of health, and applies to all people attending their services.  Reflecting on the training the nurses said; “We have had growth in knowledge and emotional intelligence … listening and being mindful of what is truly important”. “Now we are nursing the way we were meant to”. The nurses reported an enhanced level of confidence to screen, assess, provide brief intervention and refer people experiencing mental health and addiction issues. Established now as an annual opportunity the training has been extended to all nurses across Northland and has attracted fifteen participants in the 2014 intake.

Evaluation of the Mental Health and Addiction Credential in Primary Care: To access a copy of the evaluation report, April 2014 go to:

evaluation report

For further information about training for primary health care nurses in mental health & addictions go to

For information about training in Northland contact: Maurein Betts, Northland Primary Mental Health & Addictions Programme Leader, or 09 438 1015.