Community Connection services
Provide practical help and support to people in self-isolation due to COVID-19 such as food parcels and other essential cost by using discretionary fund and liaison with other agencies to access appropriate services
Provide culturally and linguistically appropriate services to people that are/were in self isolation due to COVID-19
Provide counselling sessions to Asian clients who have experienced COVID-19 related mental distress, such as depression, anxiety, psychosomatic preoccupations, suicidal ideation and increased substance use
Provide connections and direct support to people to allow them to access information and social services organisations in the community as per the psycho-social response and recovery plan for COVID-19
Deliver public health education, advocacy, and community engagement to raise awareness about factors contributing to mental health, addiction and other issues that affect people’s wellbeing reduce harm for individuals, families, and communities with a focus on Asian communities
Better relationship with children thanks to counselling
She not only taught me how to communicate with my children, but also told me how to treat my children better so that we live a good life. Now the relationship between me and the children is very good, our family is now very harmonious. Jiali also taught me how to look after myself.… I love to attend her counselling sessions. It doesn't matter if I could go back to the casino or not, I know I now have self-control and I will change myself.
Ten-year Gambling Free
….I also went to a Gamblers Anonymous Meeting on Tuesday night. They gave me a ten year Medal for being gambling-free for ten years…Thank you so much for helping me with my counselling sessions in the past. They were very helpful. Your good work has kept me safe all these years and I remember your good work. I want to say thank you to everyone at the Asian Family Services. Jiali and Ivy helped me a lot.
Feedback from Asha Group in prison
"Its a good program to know and learn about so that one doesn't get into gambling while in prison. It's very insightful and helpful for future". "Really good & informative. Should have more programmes like this". "Great + well presented. Answered all questions + were very supportive + understanding".
COVID lockdown stresses drove me back to gambling…
“…Covid19 lockdown has caused lots of financial burden to my restaurant business, and sponsorship visa process for my fiancé is also delayed. All the stresses pushed me to go back to the TAB for gambling on pokie machine last December… I decided to seek help from Asian Family Services once again. I feel so relieved that AFS counsellor Im Soo gives me not only lots of emotional support but also practical advice by helping me with the application of multi venue exclusion to the TABs or pubs where I am visiting for gambling.
Feedback from an international student
"I'm really really grateful for the support you have given me. Will soon get better completely and come back to finish my course and get back on my career path. I'll always remember your help".
I was rescued from gambling thanks to AFS
I had experienced severe gambling problems and its negative impacts on my business, marriage life, and physical and psychological health. I felt hopeless, and lost self-confidence and motivation, when I knocked at the door of the Asian Family Services, counsellor Sunjin Heo, listened to my stories, and supported me to recover self-confidence for rebuilding my life.
I overcame gambling thanks to AFS counselling
I have newly started religious study, and recovered the relationship with my son. My business is also going ok as I can concentrate on my work without the gambling issues. I really appreciate that Asian Family Services’ counselling services have helped me to overcome the gambling problems and to make my life better.
Counselling reduced my anxiety
Counsellor Jiali listened to me very carefully and helped me analyse my situation. Before my sessions, I had really bad mood swings and with her help, I no longer do. She taught me several exercises and breathing methods to better manage my anxiety and improve my quality of life.
A gambling client’s voice
Billy is patient and used step-by-step guides to help me understand things that seemed out of control for me…He gave me many examples of how gambling can negatively affect your financial situation and family relationships…He also gave me practical information about how to deal with my financial problems. He helped me decide what actions to take to manage my stress, anxiety and depression.
Questions on absence of Asian New Zealanders in Te Whatu Ora Health's leadership
Almost two months since the new health entity was launched, no Asian names are on the organisation's 51 leadership. Recent figures show Asian New Zealanders have the lowest cervical and breast screening rates and are falling behind in engagement with primary healthcare. Diversity strategies in health systems needed to go beyond cultural competency training, to address structural issues, including representation in leadership and decision making. AFS director Kelly Feng said Te Whatu Ora needed to consider how it could attract more ethnically diverse leaders. It needed to be more transparent with recruitment for its leadership positions. Link: https://www.rnz.co.nz/news/national/473181/questions-on-absence-of-asian-new-zealanders-in-te-whatu-ora-health-s-leadership
Advocacy for more awareness raising work for migrants in filling out Census 2023
There's still time to fill in your census form to avoid the possibility of being stung with a $2000 fine. More than 2.6 million people did get theirs in on time, but that's just over a 50 percent response rate…For people who don't speak English, it's a challenge to work the system. "People coming from different countries don't have the same system and that's why they don't understand why they should do it and they don't really understand why they should disclose private information and they're worried about confidentiality," AFS CEO Kelly Feng told Newshub. www.newshub.co.nz/home/new-zealand/2023/03/kiwis-urged-to-fill-out-census-form-to-avoid-possibility-of-2000-fine.html
Call for Asian views to be canvassed for healthcare planning
Health practitioners and experts are concerned that Te Whatu Ora has failed to address Asian health needs in its latest plan. AFS CEO Kelly Feng said their feedback to Te Whatu Ora has fallen on deaf ears. "We've been to all the meetings they had and all the submissions we had to highlight Asian needs to be prioritised, and what we see now in the plan, again nothing about us. It's really disappointing." Meanwhile, Auckland GP Carlos Lam said policymakers were out of touch with Asian communities. Transformation and enablers director Haggerty they will look at access to interpretation services for ethnic groups and will also assess mental health services for Asian and ethnic providers. Link: https://www.rnz.co.nz/news/national/480153/call-for-asian-views-to-be-canvassed-for-healthcare-planning
Breaking the stigma - South Asians and mental health
As New Zealand marks Mental Health Awareness Week, we talk to South Asian health advocates about the gaps and challenges they see in the community. The stigma toward people with mental illnesses in New Zealand is a huge cause for concern. 98.7% of Asians believe the public holds negative stereotypes against people with mental illnesses, while 47.9% of Asians cannot access language and/or cultural support regularly when they use health services. Fiji-born Shirleen Prasad is an AFS counsellor. Shirleen speaks about the several challenges South Asians face when it comes to dealing with mental health - including stigma, language and cultural barriers. link： https://www.rnz.co.nz/national/programmes/voices/audio/2018858858/breaking-the-stigma-south-asians-and-mental-health
Study Shows Asian Online Gamers Keen On Buying Loot Boxes
A recent study shows over 70 percent of Asians living in New Zealand who have played online video games in the last 12 months have purchased loot boxes at least once, or a similar reward mechanism to increase the chance of winning. The study, conducted by Trace Research and commissioned by Asian Family Services, looked at the online gambling and gaming habits of Asians living in New Zealand. Kelly Feng, Chief Executive of Asian Family Services, says the study shows online gamers are also at risk of gambling harm. “Video gamers are so competent online which can lead them to explore gambling as well,” she says. Link： https://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/BU2208/S00427/study-shows-asian-online-gamers-keen-on-buying-loot-boxes.htm
Asian NZers engaging in online gambling/gaming
A new survey of about 400 Asian New Zealanders shows more than 80 percent have engaged in online gaming or online gambling over the past year. The study was done by Trace Research and commissioned by Asian Family Services. Asian Family Services director Kelly Feng says many in the community suffering from gambling harm are struggling to access support. The first week of September is gambling awareness week, and Feng has presented the study this week at the addiction sector's "Cutting Edge" conference in Christchurch. link： https://www.rnz.co.nz/national/programmes/morningreport/audio/2018856989/asian-nzers-engaging-in-online-gambling-gaming
Large percentage of Asian New Zealanders taking part in online gambling, gaming - report
While online gaming might seem very different to online gambling, special gaming features mean the two things can often merge into one."They might start playing with no real money, but again that is a pathway and gateway to leading that to gambling," Asian Family Services national director Kelly Feng told Newshub. A survey looking only at Asian people found 84.6 percent had engaged in online gambling and gaming in the last 12 months. The top activities were purchasing lotto or scratchies online (73.8 percent), playing online video games (50.8 percent) and betting on sports events through TAB (41.1 percent). Link: https://www.newshub.co.nz/home/new-zealand/2022/09/large-percentage-of-asian-new-zealanders-taking-part-in-online-gambling-gaming-report.html
More support needed for Asian mental health
Demand for mental health support amongst Asian New Zealanders has soared since the beginning of the pandemic, but the community remains underserved. One provider, Asian Family Services, is trying to meet the demands of the Asian population, but says its funding is limited and is managing a three week long waitlist. In a recent 2021 survey commissioned by the health provider, 44 percent of respondents reported symptoms of depression, increasing to 61 percent for those under 30 years of age. National director Kelly Feng tells Lynn how more funding and a clearer national strategy is needed to support Asian mental health. Link:https://www.rnz.co.nz/national/programmes/ninetonoon/audio/2018835657/more-support-needed-for-asian-mental-health
Asian New Zealanders wrestle with Covid-era dilemma: To stay or to go
Not being able to return to their home country to see family is the biggest challenge of Covid for Asian New Zealanders, followed by the possibility of a recession and racial discrimination, AFS national director Kelly Feng said. Since the pandemic began, AFS had seen a surge in demand for mental health support, she said. A survey of 580 Asian New Zealanders, published in June 2021, found 44.4 per cent showed symptoms of depression. The rate was even higher for younger Asian Kiwis at 61.3 per cent. “The pandemic has been taking a huge toll on mental health among Asian communities across the country. This is partly because of the cultural and language barriers,” Feng said. Link: https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/health/coronavirus/127528331/asian-new-zealanders-wrestle-with-covidera-dilemma-to-stay-or-to-go
National calls for better mental health services for Asians
The government is being urged to make the mental health of Asian New Zealanders more of a priority, with suspected suicides among Asians more than doubling in recent years. Since the Covid-19 pandemic began, Asian Family Services said demand has been growing for mental health support. But those with the cultural knowledge to help people in need aren't being provided with enough resources. Data on the Ministry of Health website showed that between 2014 and 2018 confirmed suicides increased from 20 to 34. And in 2020 there were 55 suspected suicides amongst the Asian population. The rate of suspected suicides among New Zealand's wider population also rose from 4 to 6.5 per 100,000 people. However, stigma within Asian cultures around mental health makes people reluctant to seek professional help. link: https://www.rnz.co.nz/news/national/459871/national-calls-for-better-mental-health-services-for-asians
Calls for strategy to address needs of increasing Asian population
It's our fastest growing population - Asian New Zealanders are set to make up a quarter of the New Zealand population in 20 years' time. Asian Family Service’s Dr Kelly Feng says that "at our service level there are an increasing level of people being bullied at school, depression, stress, having an eating disorder or gambling addiction”. She says a national strategy is needed, one that is culturally appropriate. “To really put in place an equity lens on Asian people in New Zealand as well,” Feng says. Link: https://www.tvnz.co.nz/one-news/new-zealand/calls-strategy-address-needs-increasing-asian-population
Asian youth and racism: One in four students treated unfairly by teachers, study finds
A new study found 25 percent Asian students say they have been treated unfairly by a teacher because of their ethnicity. 14 percent Pākehā and other European students said the same….There's a need to make sense of these numbers because they're not good enough, says Ivan Yeo, deputy director of Asian Family Services. Yeo asks. "Is it because their English is not good? The colour of their skin? Asians don't tend to question, we try to be respectful. Are they not getting the same attention?...We need to build these narratives. ” Official population projections show Asians becoming the second largest ethnicity in NZ within the next 10 years, but Asians remain largely invisible in national health strategy and planning. Link:https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/youth19-survey-one-in-five-youth-unable-to-access-healthcare/43PVFV64V4CUUY3ILRYTYTSQAU/
Ivan Yeo and Dr Aram Kim interviewed on deteriorating Asian mental health
The Asian Helpline, a telephone counselling service offered in eight languages, recorded a 150 per cent surge in the number of calls from May to July this year. Referrals for non-gambling counselling sessions saw a 138 per cent increase over the same period, says Ivan Yeo, deputy director of Asian Family Services. "There is a strongly held stigma and discrimination against mental health issues across many Asian communities, so people struggle to identify issues that are developing, and get life-changing help early," Dr Aram commented. link：https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=12371297
Asian Parents remove the child from school as COVID-19 racism
...the Human Rights Commission has received 252 reports relating to coronavirus. Foon said 86 were considered race-related, with the bulk of those reports geared towards Asian people. Asian Family Services and Netsafe are also gathering data in relation to racist abuse and hate speech. link: https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/121393022/coronavirus-asian-parents-remove-child-from-school-as-covid19-racism-spikes
Asian mental health neglected by government policies, charity says
AFS says Asians’ mental health needs are not being properly addressed by the government. “Currently, the Ministry of Health has no policy for Asian mental health, which means no strategy,” Asian Family Services (AFS) national director Kelly Feng said. A 2019 report on understanding suicide in the Asian population said government mental health policies for Asian and refugee communities are under-developed. “Many [Asian people] don’t know the New Zealand health system ... even if they know how to access [it], there is a lack of culturally appropriate services,” she said. Link: https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/health/124833565/asian-mental-health-neglected-by-government-policies-charity-says
Asians reluctant to seek help for mental health reach out during pandemic
Deputy director Ivan Yeo said it was concerning to see more diverse distress, mental health and social needs of their clients and discrimination issues in schools and workplaces. AFS has been receiving a higher number of cases involving immigrant Asian women experiencing family violence too. AFS national director Kelly Feng said she was appreciative of a six-month grant from the Ministry of Health which allows them to expand services but more can be done. link: https://www.rnz.co.nz/news/national/417933/asians-reluctant-to-seek-help-for-mental-health-reach-out-during-pandemic
Survey shows Asian Kiwis suffered high anxiety, depression and racism during lockdown
The New Zealand Asian Mental Health and Well-being report, commissioned by Asian Family Services, found high levels of anxiety and nervousness, as well as racism. The research surveyed 580 Asian New Zealanders across the country and found almost 44 percent experienced some form of mental distress since level 4 lockdown. AFS director Kelly Feng said isolation, lack of support, family issues, academic or work pressure, new migrants adjusting to a new environment can all cause mental stress. links: https://www.rnz.co.nz/news/national/420056/survey-shows-high-anxiety-and-depression-among-asian-kiwis
NZ’s Asian population under-represented in 53rd Parliament
The Asian population is not well represented in the Parliament after last week’s election. About 5% of the 120 MPs are of Asian descent, despite 15% of NZ’s population identifying as Asian in last Census, made up of more than 30 ethnicities. AFS national director Kelly Feng commented, culturally and linguistically appropriate approaches are needed to know better the issues of Asians, and engage with the Asian community. link: https://www.rnz.co.nz/audio/player?audio_id=2018769026#
Big rise in number of Asians seeking mental health help in Auckland
The number of Asians in Auckland seeking help for mental health in the last five years has risen dramatically with one DHB reporting an 82 percent increase in cases. Kelly Feng from Asian Family Services expected the real number of people needing help to be even higher. "We do not really talk about those issues because you feel shame and stigma to talk about - you're going to keep it in the family," she said. link: https://www.rnz.co.nz/news/national/405561/big-rise-in-number-of-asians-seeking-mental-health-help-in-auckland
Urgent action needed to address poor mental health in Asian community
Figures released today show a marked increase in the number of suicides among Asian ethnicities, increasing by 20 deaths in the year to the end of June to a rate of almost 8 suicides per 100,000 people. That's despite an overall decrease in the number of suicides in New Zealand. The National Director of Asian Family Services Kelly Feng said the increase is very concerning, and the government isn't doing enough to address the underlying problems. Link：https://www.rnz.co.nz/national/programmes/middayreport/audio/2018760529/urgent-action-needed-to-address-poor-mental-health-in-asian-community
Albert-Eden Board Award
AFS has been acknowledged by the Albert-Eden Board for our outstanding contribution to the Asian community.
Waitemata Local Board Good Citizens' Awards 2019
AFS received the Waitemata Local Board Good Citizens' Awards in 2019
Electoral Commission’s acknowledgement to AFS’ contribution
Kia ora koutou katoa On behalf of Asian Family Services and the Electoral Commission, thank you so much for helping us reach and motivate more people to enrol and vote. I wanted to take the opportunity to thank you all for contributing to what was a very successful election. 94.1% of the eligible population are enrolled;This is the highest result since 2008 … Special thanks to Ivan Yeo and Alice Wang for keeping you all well informed and adequately resourced to do a fantastic job. Kindest regards Jon Gabites Project Leader | Electoral Commission
Asian Family Service has been working with Apollo Medical Centre since 2016 to trial a new way to offering counselling services via GP clinic, as often that general practice teams are the first point of contact for many people experiencing mental health and/or addiction issues. Over the past five years that two of organisation has built trust and strong relationship from leadership level to frontline clinicians with day to day referrals. With enrolled patient almost 60% identified as Asian background, our counselling services has been valued and utilised to break some of the barriers of accessing mental health and addiction services for Asians.
In late Dec 2020, Asian Family Services has been contracted to delivering to all enrolled patients of Apollo Medical Centre, a new model of integrated primary mental health and addiction services (IPMHA) by Comprehensive Care PHO, as part of implementation across New Zealand by the Ministry of Health. This model of care is part of a suite of services being developed to expand access to, and choice of, Primary Mental Health and Addiction support.
The aim of these new services is to:
• increase access and equity of access
• increase choice in addressing people’s holistic concerns
• reduce wait times for mental health and addictions support
• improve population health and equity outcomes.
Health coaching is a way of helping people gain the knowledge, skills, tools and confidence they need to take an active part in their own health care. It helps them reach the health goals they want to achieve.
A health improvement practitioner is a registered health practitioner. This is a new role to provide more support for you at the same place you see your doctor. They work with patients to achieve goals by providing support and follow-up for issues related to mental health.
Customer Testimonials - Wellbeing
HIP helped me overcome bad habit and live healthy
Hi Linda: We were so impressed by your professionalism and excellent counselling services. You treated your patient like family and the method you taught us worked. My husband and I followed your health instruction. My husband is gradually changing his bad habit of staying up late. We really appreciate your help. Your scientific explanation based on testing evidence against timeline indeed set alarm on our lifestyle.
Thanks for your support during COVID lockdown
I really want to say thank you to AFS and my counsellor Danny. Thank you for being patient listening to me and your trust on me with no judgement. You helped me apply for benefit when I was very difficult during the lockdown. With your support, I started to realise the importance of my wellbeing, and learnt how to deal with the relationship with my son.
Covid-related family support
My biggest thank-you goes to Asian Family Services. Miran bought us foods, including eggs, milk, bread, vege and meat, which were all essential to us. More importantly, she bought the formula and napkins for my baby, which were very important; as after our adults fell sick, the baby was not well. The low stock of these items had made me nervous. Thanks to your support during our illness period to have the urgent issues solved.
Thanks for Asha’s financial support during Auckland lockdown
Thank you so much Asha. You have helped me and my family a great deal,.. I'm truly blessed to be around you as a blessings 🙌 🙏 over my families especially in this pandemic Thank you so much for the voucher I really appreciate your help and kindness. I just wanted to Thank you and your team for the voucher you've provided me and my Family...It helped a lot... Thank you so much for helping me and my whanau out during these difficult times.
Counselling helped a migrant out of down mood
I am very lucky that I could get help from Darcy of Asian Family Services when I deadly needed help. Her expertise, patience, active listening, and practical advice directed me out of the low and blue. This free charge service meant a lot for a migrant living far away from home country. I would like to give five- star feedback to this service and recommend it to our Asian friends.
During the counselling, your attentive listening made me feel warm. When my words and my experiences was listened to and treated seriously, I felt like I mattered and that my issue mattered. You gave me advise carefully, you respected my opinions and you constantly communicated with me. I felt that you cared about my feelings. I felt respected.
Feedback from HomeStay NZ
Thank you so much for seeing XX. He has told us how helpful you have been to him and I was very happy to hear how successful his experience has been. I know that I can rely on AFS in the future if our students need further support.
AFS counsellor helped me with family conflict
“Hi Ms Li (Jiali LI), thank you for your counselling. During the time I talked to you, I gradually felt my growth. The past of grievance, sorrow, distress and helplessness is all gone. There are always happy things in my mind. With your care and support, the conflict between my daughter and my son in law has gradually decreased. We all felt the happiness of the family! Thanks again, Ms Li”
I felt being heard, cared and validated
“I feel much better after the face-to-face counselling session. There are so many challenges I am facing in my life, but I do not know who I can talk to. I hid all problems, and everyone thought I was fine. But I knew I was not. AFS provides me an opportunity to tell my story, my feelings and thoughts in a confidential and safe place. I feel being heard, cared and validated by my counsellor (Carmen Wang) in the session.”
Counsellor helped me with parent-child conflict
“Thanks to my counsellor Danny for helping me face the conflict within myself and the conflict between me and my kids. He is calm and patient with no judgement. Now I can accept myself still being a good mother and work to improve my communication skills and my anger management skills. I really appreciate the service from Asian Family Services. I believe many individuals and families should come for help instead of letting their issues getting worse. “
Unemployment stress alleviated
This year was a grim year for people working in the tourism industry. I was under immense stress and suffered a lot of pain. I turned to AFS for help. After three sessions, I was relieved from the pressure I felt and I gained further insight about my mental health.
Programme for International Students
AFS is regularly invited by schools and tertiary groups to provide workshops for their international students. In July, AFS visited the ACG Education group to speak to over 300 students.
Culturally appropriate solutions
These counselling sessions really helped me. I would like to thank Asian Family Services for offering free and professional counselling services that enable us to express our emotional problems in our mother tongue and provide us with culturally appropriate solutions. Thank you.
A Chinese client’s voice
My counsellor's empathy helped me to realise that I am not alone and helped alleviate my loneliness when I faced my mental health issues. During the counselling sessions, he was very patient, listened to my thoughts and used different methods to help me. He would answer all my questions on WeChat and helped me with my anxieties.
Counselling solved our family conflict
Thank you so much for your service. During the sessions, I gradually felt myself growing and learning. My grief, distress and hopelessness are gone and I am happier. With your help and support, our family conflict between my daughter and my son-in-law reduced and my family has regained our happiness. Thank you so much, Counsellor Li!
I learned to manage my anger
A three-hour counselling helped me grow inner wisdom. I used to use anger to express my dissatisfaction. I feel abased due to my bad temper. Counsellor Jiali made me realise that my anger was rooted from not being paid attention to when I expressed my thoughts in my childhood. I started to use language to express my thought and communicate with others in a more active way.