Frank Bristol  

Frank is a 4th generation Whanganui citizen and has worked as a partner in a horticultural operation "Bristol Plants & Seeds" with his late wife Joy for most of his working life. They specialise in vegetable seed and plant growing but perhaps are best publicly known for their work with “Wanganui in Bloom”.

Since 2004 Frank has been increasingly involved in developing community based peer run Mental Health services. He has been a speaker on self-management at various Mental Health conferences in NZ, Australia, United Kingdom, USA and Canada in the last nine years. He is a keen and passionate facilitator of approaches based on self-care, relationship-care and community-care philosophies embodied in Intentional Peer Support and the Facilitation of Self-Determination and believes his lived experience makes him more effective in life rather than less.

Frank is the current manager of Balance Aotearoa and teh Balance Whanganui Peer Support team which provides peer support and consultancy services to the Whanganui DHB area. Through Balance he is contracted to provide consumer leadership, consultancy and liaison for Whanganui DHB’s Mental Health and Addictions Service.

Frank is also a member of the Whanganui DHB Board Advisory Combined Advisory Committees. Amongst other local, regional and national working groups he is also on the National Te Pou/Ministry of Health Mental Health & Addiction Information and Clinical Reference Group. He also enjoyed being part of the On-Track publication development as a Steering group member. I am currently a member of the Consumer Advisory Group to the Board of the HQSC and involved with the HQSC MHA quality improvement programs in various position both at a national and local level.

Carla Langmead

My relationship with health is holistic and has been for a very long time. I have always had an inherent belief that nothing works in isolation of itself, and that of course includes my body and mind and my relationship to and with the world around me.  I’m always interested in self-development and growth with a particular interest in neuro science and the metaphysical.  I have been very lucky to have stumbled into occupations which allow me to practise this every single day. I have been teaching group exercise for over 20 years and find that it fits really well with my role as a community peer support worker.  I understand that my physical health affects my mental health, and vice versa.  My lived experience with depression started with the birth of my first child and it was a long hard battle but I learnt so much and I managed to beat it in the end.  My family consists of me and my 2 beautiful children who are my greatest teachers.  

Shane Thomas

Shane enjoys working as a facilitator of TTPP and being a casual peer support worker. He likes to work alongside other staff and currently is looking forward to working with Shane Brown as well as other staff members. Shane enjoys working at the Splash Centre with Balance Members and also doing the Art Activities on Thursday. Shane likes taking part in the AFSD courses. Shane has a strong belief that everyone is equal and enjoys the mutuality within Balance. He works well as a team leader as well as a team player.  

Brooke Ardell

Hi, my name is Brooke Ardell and I’m a casual Peer Support Worker  at Balance. I began here in 2012 and was oriented to the values of Intentional Peer Support soon after, learning to put into words and practical action something I had sensed all my life. I believe Peer Support is not necessarily only for those with lived experience of mental distress, but has the power to build truly compassionate, democratic and just communities everywhere. Working with the Balance Whanganui whanau has been the most healing and transformative experience of my life. Peace.  

David Mason

At Balance I feel a sense of belonging with other people as well as being a part of the environment. I believe I have a strong ability to listen to people as well as to invite the different cultures that come to Balance. I currently hold a certificate in CMH & AOD and am looking at another 36 weeks of study for a social work diploma.  

Sonny Te Huia

Kia Ora Mai Tatau

Kahui mai te Maunga ki Tangaroa, ko au te awa, te awa ko au.

The river runs from the Mountain to the sea, I Am The River, The River is Me.

Greetings one and all, my name is Sonny Te Huia. For the last two years I have had the privilege of walking side by side with Tangata Whenua less fortunate then myself.

In 2013 I studied for my Mental Health Certificate at UCOL as a Support Worker. My mahi is in Mental Health with many variables in Support Work, such as Patient Advocate in a Forensic Unit on the grounds of Whanganui DHB and systemic advocacy. This mahi allowed me to sit at the table with a team of health professionals on a weekly basis where some meaningful discussions take place regarding the wellbeing of our services users. I now work in the communnity and in Te Awhina the inpatient unit.  I would like to acknowledge Balance Whanganui for where I am today and the support that I have received from both staff and management.

Mauri ora

Sonny Te Huia