Social media forums, an 0800 number and nationwide meetings are to kick off soon as the mental health inquiry builds momentum – including the imminent release of a consultation document.
Inquiry chair Ron Paterson sent out an update late last week to stakeholders saying that the inquiry into mental health and addictions was now “well underway” with a “very short” consultation document due to be released mid-April and nationwide hui, fono and forums to start next month.
The six-member inquiry team and terms of reference were announced on January 23 when Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said “nothing was off the table” for the $6 million inquiry which is due to report back to the Government no later than October 31. The catalyst for the inquiry was driven by widespread concern, both from within and outside the sector, that mental health and addiction services were at crisis point and struggling to cope with the increase in demand.
Paterson in his update said the inquiry team were keen to ensure everybody could have their say and “listening well” to a wider range of communities and stakeholders was important – including service users, their families/ whanau, service providers, advocates, sector groups and experts.
“We want to hear all ideas – big or small, specific or broad, innovative or building on what’s already happening.”
To do this the inquiry planned to engage directly with stakeholder groups and attend forums, hui and fono across the country. It was also intending to establish an 0800 number so people could call and share their views, along with social media forums.
Paterson said the inquiry panel wanted to generate hope and set a clear direction for the next five to ten years that supports communities, providers and government to take action.
He said the inquiry was wide-ranging with the inquiry team asked to look at how to promote and support good mental health in New Zealand in general, as well as to look at the services currently in place for people experiencing mental health and addiction challenges, including people affected by suicide. It aimed to engage broadly with people, build on the knowledge and work already done and focus on solutions.
Paterson said the inquiry, which is supported by the Department of Internal Affairs, had begun a broad stocktake of existing research, reports, data and other information already available and was also working with a range of agencies to help better understand the sector and services currently in place. It was in the final stages of preparing a “very short and focused” consultation document – with the aim for it to be as accessible to as many people as possible – that was due to be released in mid-April and submissions would be sought.
But he added that people were welcome to share their thoughts before then by email or expressing their interest in engaging with the inquiry through an online form available at the inquiry’s website: www.mentalhealth.inquiry.govt.nz where information on forums would be shared once finalised.
WHAT THE INQUIRY WILL COVER:
- The inquiry will make recommendations to improve the structure of public services treating mental health and addiction and to prevent mental health and addiction problems developing, including a specific focus on preventing suicide.
- It will also take a broad approach to mental health and wellbeing including the causes of mental health and addiction problems and contributing factors like poverty, unemployment, discrimination and domestic violence.
- It will also focus on equity of access and better outcomes for Māori and other groups known to have the poorest outcomes
WHAT THE INQUIRY WILL NOT COVER:
- The inquiry will not review individual incidents or cases within current services. The panel will refer individual incidents or cases to the appropriate pathway for example the Health and Disability Commissioner.
IF YOU NEED 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:
• Lifeline: 0800 543 354 (available 24/7)
• Suicide Crisis Helpline: 0508 828 865 (0508 TAUTOKO) (available 24/7)
• Youthline: 0800 376 633
• Kidsline: 0800 543 754 (available 24/7)
• Whatsup: 0800 942 8787 (Mon-Fri 1pm to 10pm. Sat-Sun 3pm-10pm)
• Depression helpline: 0800 111 757 (available 24/7)
• Rainbow Youth: (09) 376 4155
• Samaritans 0800 726 666