About Us

What’s MHERC?


The Mental Health Education & Resource Centre provides a free mental health library for everyone in Christchurch and the South Island of New Zealand.

Click to view our Library Database and reserve items. We will post items free of charge with return postage paid to anyone living in the South Island of New Zealand.

We can put you in touch with mental health support groups.

Vision Statement

“The Mental Health Education and Resource Centre is a dynamic collective actively contributing to mentally healthy communities by providing a coordinating service that encourages community participation and promotes autonomy of individuals and groups.”

History

The concept of the Mental Health Education and Resource Centre was discussed by community groups as far back as 1988, and in early 1993, a committee was established to work formally on the project. The Centre is a result of cooperation and planning between a range of Christchurch mental health organisations and is based on the principles of community development including cooperation and resource sharing amongst community mental health organisations.

The Mental Health Education and Resource Centre represents a key public mental health initiative in Christchurch, and indeed New Zealand, and few other examples are available internationally. ‘The Centre offers a focus...puts mental health clearly on the map...brings mental health out of the closet, putting it unashamedly in the middle of town’ qoutes Dr Barbara Disley at the Centres opening.

There is still a large degree of stigma and misunderstanding about mental health and mental illness amongst the wider community and the physical location of the Centre is a key factor in helping to address that. Prior to the Centre’s opening in June 1994, the self help organisations based at the Centre had their files and resources stored in spare rooms in their homes. Because of the nature of mental illness, operating a self-help group can be very challenging. One purpose of the Centre is to provide an office space for groups and also to provide support, networking and shared material resources.

The Centre greatly reduces the burden of rental, running costs and administrative overheads for mental health community organisations. We are able to share a photocopier, fax, Receptionist, Administrator, Resource Designer, Community and Rural Liaison, two large meeting rooms, a kitchen and a public Resource Room/Library. Skills and information can easily be shared between the groups present in the Centre, by providing a collective action base for organisations working on common or related matters.

We know that working together enables us to offer improved and more creative services. Not only are we able to share physical resources and knowledge, but we also participate in networking, education and promotion to the wider community.