Mental Health & Addiction Update - 23 October 2020

on 23 October





Toni Gutschlag Acting Deputy Director-General, Mental Health and Addiction

Toni Gutschlag
Acting Deputy Director-General, Mental Health and Addiction


Kia ora whānau

I hope you are all looking forward to having a long weekend as we mark a public holiday that is particularly relevant to the mahi we do as it has its origins in improving wellbeing.

Labour Day is traced back to the eight-hour working day movement that arose in the newly founded Wellington colony in 1840, when carpenter Samuel Parnell's refused to work more than eight hours a day. It was the start of a long road to better work/life balance in Aotearoa, but we all know that getting the balance right can be a challenge, especially due to the impact of COVID-19 on our lives.

I encourage my team to make sure that taking care of themselves is as much a priority as the important work we do across the sector. And to that end, I’m taking the chance to spend some extra time with my family in Christchurch, so am sending this message as I wing my way down South from the Capital.

I wanted to share Suzy’s story with you today from the team at Getting Through Together campaign. Suzy is one of the many dedicated people working on the frontline of our COVID-19 response at a managed isolation facility who, like the thousands of others across the health and disability sector, is helping to save lives. Unfortunately, not everyone feels the same way. They are all heroes who deserve our appreciation, respect and support – not discrimination.

As you wind down on your Friday afternoon, I’d suggest you grab a cup of tea and have a listen to the podcast below that features Sir John Kirwan – or JK – and our own Dr Ashley Bloomfield. It’s a long chat – about 45 minutes – but there are so many useful lessons and reflections in there that we all need to hear again from time to time. Please share with your teams, take care of yourselves and have a relaxing long weekend.

Ngā mihi nui


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