Mental Health & Addiction Update - 23 April 2021

on 27 April


In this edition:

  • Update from Toni Gutschlag, Deputy Director-General
  • School based mental health support to be co-designed in five new areas
  • Expanding on-campus mental health support for tertiary students
  • New $22.5 million forensic mental health unit opens
  • New Pacific services across Auckland and Wellington
  • Pacific organisations working to prevent suicide
  • Digital tools to help mental wellbeing
  • New Small Steps tools launched by Te Hiringa Hauora

Kia ora whānau

You will have seen the Health Minister’s announcement this week about reforming the health and disability system. For mental health and addiction services, we are still using He Ara Oranga as our blueprint to strengthen and transform our approach to mental wellbeing. This means providing greater choice and access to support in the community and early intervention services, and strengthening specialist mental health and addiction services.

The Minister also mentioned the use of digital tools within the health system – this is an area we are already expanding to support mental wellbeing, and we are currently seeking registrations of interest for two digital mental wellbeing tools (the links are available later in this newsletter).

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

Toni Gutschlag
Deputy Director-General, Mental Health and Addiction

Over the last two weeks I’ve had the great pleasure of being involved in events and announcements that show just how much is progressing around the country.

So many of the successful programmes we support rely on local communities shaping the programme to ensure it is right for them. The Mana Ake programme is a great example; initially launched in early 2018 as part of the Government’s plan to wrap support around children living in earthquake affected communities, it is now being expanded into five more DHB areas. But this is not about ‘lifting and shifting’ Canterbury's programme to other parts of the country. It's about sharing their learning and each DHB leading a co-design process to adapt Mana Ake into a programme that best suits their tamariki, whānau, schools, and communities.

Last week I was pleased to attend an event launching the Mental Health and Wellbeing Commission. The Commission will help keep us on track by providing independent, system-level oversight of mental health and wellbeing in New Zealand, and I’d like to acknowledge the huge amount of mahi from so many people over the last two years to get the permanent Commission established. You can watch the full event on the Mental Health and Wellbeing Commission website.

Ngā mihi,


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