More than 5000 submissions have been received by the Mental Health and Addictions Inquiry which formally closed submissions earlier this month.
Inquiry chair Ron Paterson in an update to stakeholders thanked everyone who had participated to date through submissions and the 300 meetings panel members had had with individuals, groups and its open forums.
“I’ve been deeply moved by people’s willingness to share very personal stories,” said Paterson. “I acknowledge those family members who have lost loved ones through suicide and who have shared their pain and their ideas for the future direction of mental health and addiction in New Zealand.”
The panel still has three more weeks of regional meetings and open forum sessions to go with the panel due to visit Whanganui, New Plymouth, Gisborne, Hamilton, Christchurch, Greymouth and Kaikoura.
Paterson said it would continue to meet with people into August but would not be able to meet all meeting requests.
“Due to our reporting timeline we have to make some hard decisions, as we cannot meet with everyone we would like to or who has asked to meet with us.”
Submissions formally closed on June 5 as the Inquiry panel said wanted time to carefully analyse, undertake research and deliberate on all matters raised before its report is due to the Government in late October.
But it has said it will consider requests for time extensions on a “case by case” basis with people able to apply for an extension for their submission by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
“To those who have made submissions or shared your stories and experience with us directly, thank you,” said Paterson. “We intend to honour your contributions by developing a report that leads to significant improvements in mental health and addiction in New Zealand and creates hope for the future. This Inquiry is a once in a generation opportunity to make real change. We are seizing that opportunity.”
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