Source: Mental Health Foundation, 28 February 2018
The Mental Health Foundation (MHF) welcomes the recommendations
made by Mental Health Commissioner Kevin Allan in his report New
Zealand's mental health and addiction services: The monitoring and
advocacy report of the Mental Health Commissioner.
"Half the New Zealand population are living with mental health
and wellbeing issues right now," MHF chief executive Shaun Robinson
The report sites evidence that 50-80% of all Kiwis will
experience a mental health or addiction problem in their lifetime,
with around 20% in any one year.
"We would add to that picture that evidence indicates 50% of
Kiwis experience poor mental wellbeing that impacts their lives and
can lead to worse mental health; that's half of all Kiwis not doing
well ," Mr Robinson says.
The MHF is heartened that the Commissioner's report has a strong
emphasis on the need for services to broaden the focus from mental
illness and addiction to mental wellbeing and recovery.
"We need to get up-stream of the issues, address drivers of poor
mental health such as poverty, and empower people to have
lifestyles and community support that build positive mental health
and resilience. When people go through tough times it's essential
that they are given the holistic, social and clinical support they
need to recover and boost their ongoing wellbeing.
"With mental health issues being of the scale they are, every
Kiwi has a stake in how we respond and every part of our society
has a role to play," Mr Robinson says.
"The Commissioner is absolutely right that New Zealand's
response lacks leadership, direction and traction. We urgently need
a new blueprint for where our national response is heading and the
political, all-of-Government and community leadership to make it
happen," he says.
"The Government Inquiry into Mental Health and Addiction must
lead quickly to an action plan that includes strong leadership and
clear resourcing," Mr Robinson adds.
The Commissioner's report has highlighted areas of innovation
and hope, as well as acknowledging people who are not well served
by the current approaches.
"We must do things differently as we move forward. Simply
pouring more money into the existing mould would be a tragedy."
The Commissioner's report points to many areas where change is
needed, all of which the MHF support. In particular:
The report highlights poor outcomes for Māori. The traumatic
impacts of colonisation and failure of services that don't reach or
work for Māori are apparent - we support the Commissioner's call
for a clear strategy to address this.
• The need for more peer-led initiatives and services, which are
showing really positive results.
• An emphasis on early intervention and support within
• Recognition of the value of promoting wellbeing, prevention
and positive mental health.
• Acknowledging the impacts of social justice issues such as
poverty, racism, and family violence and link efforts to address
them in our mental health response.
"The Commissioner's report is an important summary of where we
are at and the challenges New Zealand faces in achieving a mentally
flourishing society. While the report shows signs of hope, the
issues it points to will not be overcome quickly. Improving our
mental health and wellbeing requires sustained effort across all of
"The MHF is committed to being part of this process and will
continue to advocate for all New Zealanders to have the mental
health and wellbeing they deserve," Mr Robinson says.
*Sovereign Wellbeing Index 2015, the Human Potential Centre AUT