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A ‘once in a generation opportunity’ is how today’s formal launch of the consultation phase of the Mental Health and Addictions Inquiry is being described.

From today the Mental Health and Addictions Inquiry is open for written, online and by phone submissions on how to improve mental health and addiction outcomes and services.

A simple 14 page consultation document in multiple languages and formats was released by the six-member inquiry team who were announced three months ago – along with the terms of reference for the $6 million inquiry.  Submissions close on June 5 2018 but the series of national meetings – including  15 ‘meet the panel’ public meetings  – end on July 5 with the inquiry due to report back to the Government with its recommendations no later than October 31.

Paterson is describing the inquiry’s consultation process a “once in a generation opportunity” with the last big mental health policy inquiry back in 1995-96.

Ron Patterson (Chair) introduces the Government Inquiry into Mental Health and Addiction. 

“This is a once in a generation opportunity to deliver a solutions based report that generates hope and set a clear direction for the next five to ten years that Government, the mental health and addiction sectors, and the broader community can pick up and implement,” said Paterson.

The document was launched at a hui in Palmerston North which included a presentation from a collective intersectoral submission to the inquiry panel.

Paterson in introduction to the short consultation document that it was decided to keep the consultation questions “deliberately broad” to ensure the team “capture the full range of issues and  solutions you may wish to share with us”.

The consultation document is open-ended and provides no options or opinions from the inquiry team about current mental health service but instead seeks responses to five simple questions:

  • What’s currently working well?
  • What isn’t working well at the moment?
  • What could be done better?
  • From your point of view, what sort of society would be best for the mental health of all our people?
  • Anything else you want to tell us?

The consultation document can be downloaded at the inquiry website in English (including easy read and large text formats), Chinese, Hindi, Māori, Samoan, Tongan and will be available in New Zealand sign language.  Submissions will also be able to be provided over the phone by calling 0800 644 678 between 9.30-5.30pm Monday to Friday.

Inquiry Panel

The Inquiry team says that during the consultation it is seeking people’s ideas about solutions that might help to:

  • Build positive mental wellbeing for all New Zealanders help people to deal with mental health challenges early (before specialist treatment is required)
  • Enable people to avoid becoming addicted to something that causes harm
  • Prevent people from taking their own lives
  • Make it easier and faster to identify when someone is facing mental health or addiction challenges and get them help more quickly.

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