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Mental Health & Addiction Update 29 November 2019on 29 November
It’s been a big week. One that I feel really lucky to be working with so many providers who do such terrific work.
On Tuesday, the Minister of Health, Dr David Clark made a significant announcement about four training programmes that will see many more people equipped to identify and respond to mental health needs in the community.
My sincere thanks to Le Va CEO, Monique Faleafa and her team for hosting the event which shone a spotlight on some amazing people who have been through the MH101, Addiction 101, Cultural competency programmes and the nurse credentialing programme. There is more on this below.
On Wednesday, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and the Minister for Health officially opened the Suicide Prevention Office at an event in our Wellington offices. The Prime Minister referred to the event as bittersweet.
“Bitter because New Zealand’s heartbreakingly high rate of suicide is shameful. But it’s sweet because this new office represents hope that we can turn things around and is a crucial part of our actions to address the suicide rate.”
We were joined by NZ Rugby who are keen to be part of the solution and recognise that the rugby community represent some of our most at risk communities being Māori, Pacific, youth, men and rural. Former All Black and ambassador for NZ Rugby’s HeadFirst programme, Nehe Milner-Skudder, spoke at the event about the importance of speaking up about mental health and noted it’s ok to not be ok.
A number of organisations were at the event promoting some of the important work that is already happening in the suicide prevention space. It was fantastic to have these terrific providers join us. This is not something we can do on our own. It is going to take all of us.
Opening the office was also a big step forward for putting into action Every Life Matters, the suicide prevention and action plan. There was a lot of input into this plan including significant input from the Lived Experience community.
Also on Tuesday this week, the Request for Proposals (RFP) for expanding or replicating Maori and Pacific mental health and addiction services closed. We now move into the evaluation phase with these. There will be further RFPs for Māori and Pacific services early in 2020. There will also be an RFP for youth services in the New Year.
Improving mental health and wellbeing in New Zealand is a big job and it won’t happen overnight. It is going to take all of us working together to be able to achieve this. This week marks some important milestones of moving forward together.
Ngā mihi nui,
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