Mental Health & Addiction Update - 28 May 2020

on 29 May


Mental Health & Addiciton update

Kia ora whānau

Robyn Shearer, Deputy Director-General, Mental Health & Addiction.

Manuia le vaiaso o le gagana Sāmoa! 

Happy Sāmoan Language Week!

Taking time to celebrate the languages spoken in Aotearoa is a great reminder that we are a multilingual nation. And recent events have reinforced just how important language is in public health, healthcare and the work we do in the sector.

Providing services and information that acknowledge the language needs of all Kiwis using health services is vital to meeting their care; and for us at the Ministry, fulfilling our duty as kaitiaki of the health and disability system.

On that note, although responding to COVID-19 has had an impact on our usual work at the Ministry, I’m happy to say that we have kept our work moving, albeit at a slightly slower pace.  Carrying out RFP evaluations and panel meetings via Zoom has proved a bit challenging. However, we have continued to evaluate the RFPs that were released prior to COVID-19 and hope to have some announcements on the outcomes of these towards the end of June.

I also wanted to let you know that we are planning to release the RFP for new Pacific primary mental health and addiction services within the next couple of weeks and expect to have the RFP for new kaupapa Māori primary mental health and addiction services open by the end of June. As with all of our RFPs these will be released on GETS, the government electronic tender system. This is great news and I’m so pleased that recognising the importance of other languages, Te Reo in particular, will be part of these processes.

As well as thinking about the needs of some of our other language communities and how we can best support their need mental health and wellbeing, there are also some settings where we are focusing our recovery efforts. One of these is workplaces.

You will have seen a lot of commentary in the media (here is an example) lately about how COVID-19 is impacting the mental health of those who might have lost jobs but equally those who might have returned to work with Level 2. For some people this will be an extremely challenging time as they seek out new roles or learn to cope with working longer hours. I know hairdressers are in high demand!

Talking about mental health at work is important because we spend so much of our lives there. We bring our whole selves to work and sometimes we go through hard times and need extra support. This is true for all of us at some point.

But not all workplaces have good systems in place to talk to their people about their mental wellbeing. If you think you or your teams could benefit from learning how to kickstart a workplace conversation, there are some great courses being run by the Mental Health Foundation over the next couple of weeks called Difficult Conversations and Changing Culture (see below). I encourage you to check them out.

Ngā mihi nui



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