Mental Health & Addiction Update - 20 May 2020

on 22 May

Mental Health & Addiction Update

Kia ora whānau

Robyn Shearer - DDG Mental Health & Addiction

Following hot on the heels of International Nurses Day last week, yesterday was World Family Doctor Day.

I think I speak for all of us when I thank all of New Zealand's GPs for their dedication and ability to tackle the challenges that COVID-19 presented. Initiatives such as remote consultations, and their diagnosis, testing and treatment of people with COVID-19 have all played a significant role in bringing our case numbers under control in communities across the country.

And it is this community spirit that has shown itself time and time again throughout lock down with things like bear hunts, buying groceries for those unable to leave their homes, and thousands and thousands of zoom calls.

Now more than ever we need Kiwis to keep on connecting and checking in on each other to make sure as we find a new sense of normal that our neighbours and those around us are okay.

Staying connected and making sure we are taking care of our own mental wellbeing through simple daily habits are two of the key pillars of the Kia Kaha, Kia Māia, Kia Ora Aotearoa - COVID-19 Psychosocial and Mental Wellbeing Recovery Plan that we released on Sunday. The plan provides a national approach to supporting the mental and social wellbeing of New Zealanders in the COVID-19 recovery period.

As I mentioned last week, we previously published a provisional psychosocial response plan for COVID-19 Alert Level 4 that provided guidance to assist agencies involved in planning, coordinating and delivering psychosocial interventions and mental health and addiction services.

The plan we published at the weekend builds on that important work and is mainly directed at the sector. It provides a framework for collective actions to support whānau and communities to adapt and thrive over the next 12 to 18 months. It draws on the directions for mental wellbeing that were laid down in He Ara Oranga: Report of the Government Inquiry into Mental Health and Addiction so I am confident that we are moving in the right direction longer-term.

It is a ‘living document’ that we will continue to review as we assess the ongoing impacts of COVID-19. Your input will help build a collective picture of how different organisations are contributing to our recovery and will assist with shaping a further iteration of the plan, anticipated for September 2020.

We welcome your feedback on this plan, which you can provide through our consultation hub.

Ngā mihi nui.

Robyn

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