Rina & George
Rina, who is Maori, believes many Maori are reluctant to seek outside help, even when they really need it. " In our culture we have this mana that we don’t like to be known as a weak person, a weak link in the family. But we do have mental problems and we do have stress. We’ve got to learn that there are services out there that can help and you’re not being judged. "
Luckily, George’s ProCare GP, recognised the difficulties George and Rina were having with his diabetes and referred him for an appointment at ProCare Psychological Services. The psychologist realised the couple needed some hands-on, practical help to sort out the issues that were worrying them.
With the help of his GP and the ProCare psychologist, George has learned to manage his diabetes. Although his 12 brothers and sisters all have the condition, and both of his parents were diabetic too, the 54-year-old admits he did not realise how badly it was affecting him. "I’ve seen the after-effects of when you don’t look after yourself," he says. "I saw it happen to my mum – gangrene set in to her legs and she didn’t last very long after that, before she died of a stroke."
The support of the psychologist and ProCare’s Community Health Co-ordinator helped George win a job with a courier company, while Rina’s newfound confidence has led her to consider a career beyond her current part-time work as a nurse aid.