Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says “nothing is off the table” for the more than $6M Ministerial Inquiry into Mental Health and Addiction. Health Central gives you a quick summary of what is currently on the table.
Inquiry into Mental Health and Addiction
- The Inquiry will be chaired by former Health and Disability Commissioner Professor Ron Patterson with the support of five other inquiry members (see members bios below).
- The inquiry team is due to report back to the Government no later than October 31 this year.
- The catalyst for the Inquiry was widespread concern about mental health services from within the sector itself and the broader community leading to a call for a wide-ranging inquiry.
- Key Drivers of the Inquiry are: “addressing inequalities in mental health and addiction outcomes” (particularly poorer outcomes for Māori), “underfunding of mental health and addiction services”, “stubbornly high suicide rates” and “growing substance abuse”. (Also addressing the disproportionately poorer mental health experienced by Pacific and youth, people with disabilities, the rainbow/LGBTIQ community, the prison population and refugees.)
- Aims include helping produce an accurate picture of how well New Zealand’s current mental health and addiction services are working as a baseline for proposing a pathway for improvements.
- Minister of Health David Clark is the appointing minister of the Inquiry but it will be funded and administer by the Department of Internal Affairs which will receive an extra $6.5 million to cover the Inquiry costs.
Purpose of Inquiry
- Hear the voices of the community (including consumers, families and providers of services) on New Zealand’s current approach to mental health and addiction and what needs to change.
- Report on how New Zealand is preventing mental health and addiction problems and responding to people’s needs.
- Identify unmet needs (across full spectrum from mental distress to enduring psychiatric illness) and which groups of people present the ‘greatest opportunity’ to make a difference to.
- Consider previous investigations, reviews, reports and consultation processes relating to mental health and addiction including the Peoples’ Mental Health Report (2017) and Blueprint II: Improving mental health and wellbeing for all New Zealanders (2012).
- Recommend specific changes to New Zealand’s approach to mental health – with a particular focus on equity of access, community confidence in system and better outcomes for Māori and other groups with disproportionally poorer outcomes.
- Inform the Government’s decisions on future arrangements for mental health and addiction system including:
- The re-establishment of Mental Health Commission
- Improved co-ordination between health and other systems including education, welfare and ACC
- Fiscal approaches, models and funding arrangements
- Workforce planning, training support and management
Scope of Inquiry:
- Mental health problems across the full spectrum from mental distress to enduring psychiatric illness
- Mental health and addiction needs from the perspective of both identifying and responding to people with mental health and addiction problems AND preventing mental health problems and promoting mental well-being prevention of suicide
- Activities directly related to mental health and addiction undertaken within the broader health and disability sector (in community, primary and secondary care), as well as the education, justice and social sectors and through the accident compensation and wider workplace relations and safety systems
- Opportunities to build on the efforts of whanau.
Professor Ron Paterson (CHAIR) was Health and Disability Commissioner from 2000-2010 and is currently a professor of law at the University of Auckland and Chair of the
New Zealand Centre for Human Rights Law, Policy & Practice Advisory Board. He is recognised internationally for his expertise in patients’ rights,regulation of health practitioners and healthcare quality improvement and has chaired several major health system reviews in Australia.
Dr Barbara Disley is a former director of the Mental Health Foundation (1991-1996), and a former executive chairwoman of the Mental Health Commission (1996-2002). She is currently chief executive of Emerge Aotearoa which provides a wide range of community-based mental health, addiction, disability support and social housing services nationwide.
Sir Mason Durie is a psychiatrist and professor of Māori Studies at Massey University. An expert in Māori health and culture, he has served on a range of health-related committees, councils and advisory groups, including the Mental Health Foundation (1976-1980), The National Health Committee (1998-2000) and was a Families Commissioner (2003-2007).
Dean Rangihuna is a Māori consumer adviser for the Canterbury DHB with a particular focus on mental health services. He has consumer/lived experience and knowledge of Māori mental health models.
Dr Jemaima Tiatia-Seath has research expertise and experience in Pacific mental health and suicide prevention. She is currently acting co-head of the School of Pacific Studies at the University of Auckland and is a senior lecturer for Pacific Health at the School of Population Health.
Josiah Tualamali’I is chair of the Pacific Youth Leadership and Transformation Charitable Trust. In 2016, he received the Prime Minister’s Pacific Youth Award for Leadership and Inspiration and he is a semi-finalist for Kiwibank Young New Zealander of the Year (2018).
WHERE TO GET HELP:
If you are worried about your or someone else’s mental health, the best place to get help is your GP or local mental health provider. However, if you or someone else is in danger or endangering others, call police immediately on 111.
OR IF YOU NEED TO TALK TO SOMEONE ELSE: