Inquiry into Mental Health and Addiction – Draft Terms of Reference

The Government has committed to setting up an inquiry into mental health as part of its first 100 days’ work programme. The catalyst for the inquiry has been widespread concern about mental health services, within the mental health sector and the broader community. Service users, their families and whānau, people affected by suicide, people working in health, media, iwi and advocacy groups have called for a wide-ranging inquiry.

The People’s Mental Health Report (2017) highlighted a range of problems, including: access to services and wait times, limited treatment options in primary and community care, compulsory treatment and seclusion practices, ineffective responses to crisis situations and underfunding of mental health and addiction services in the face of rising demand. There have been calls for a transformation in New Zealand’s response to mental health and addiction problems. Major concerns are stubbornly high suicide rates, growing substance abuse and poorer mental health outcomes for Māori. Read more…


RANZCP welcomes the timely Inquiry into Mental Health and Addiction

The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists welcomes the announcement of an Inquiry into Mental Health and Addiction in New Zealand.

‘Psychiatrists have a critical part to play in this inquiry as the historical under investment in the mental health has resulted in significant psychiatry workforce shortages, which are seriously impacting many people living with mental illness,’ said Dr Mark Lawrence RANZCP Chair of the New Zealand National Committee – Tu Te Akaaka Roa.

Inquiry to improve mental health services.

The Government has taken a major step towards improving mental health and addiction services with Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announcing details of a ministerial inquiry.

The Inquiry into Mental Health and Addiction will be chaired by former Health and Disability Commissioner, Professor Ron Paterson, and will report back to the Government by the end of October. This announcement delivers on another of the Government’s 100 Day Plan commitments.

“Mental health and addiction are issues for all New Zealanders,” says Jacinda Ardern. “Most of us will know a friend or whānau member that has faced a mental health challenge in their lives. Plenty have reached out and received the support required, but too many still have unhappy stories to tell.

Under pressure: Mental health workers give their view of the crisis.

Mental health workers and suicide prevention strategists tell Jess McAllen that while the public system has its flaws, the unrelenting attention on a ‘broken’ system is dangerous too.

The mental health inquiry – a call to action for Pasifika.

There’s a lot of banter out there at the moment about the governments’ new mental health inquiry, and the impact it will have on improving mental health in the future. The fact is, the success of the inquiry for Pasifika people will actually be dependent on the success of Pasifika people standing up and speaking out.

Sometimes our traditional Pasifika cultural values instilled in us to demonstrate respect and deference within sophisticated hierarchies, can be counter-intuitive to ‘standing up and speaking out’. It may feel unsafe to challenge (especially for our young people), or step outside of our cultural comfort zones – even if information is deemed anonymous. This is where Le Va can support. We can help facilitate Pasifika collective voices – bridging that ‘liability of deference’ divide, and create a safe space to have your say.

Nurses hope workforce will be early focus of mental health inquiry.

Nurses are hoping that ensuring a well-resourced and coordinated mental health workforce is an early focus of the just announced Ministerial inquiry into mental health, says the New Zealand Nurses Organisation.

Memo Musa, the chief executive of NZNO, said the organisation welcomed the inquiry’s terms of reference and was pleased that the inquiry was due to report back by the end of October.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced the inquiry yesterday, to be chaired by former Mental Health Commissioner Ron Patterson, saying nothing was off the table for the review, which has a particular focus on ensuring equity of access to mental health and addiction services and improving outcomes.