Mental Health & Addiction Update - 15 June 2021

on 17 June


In this edition:

  • What we heard - Long-Term Pathway feedback
  • Services to mental health recognised in Queen's Birthday Honours List
  • Le Va scholarships building a bright future 
  • Mental wellbeing a focus at Fieldays
  • NZ joins the e-Mental Health International Collaborative
  • Launch of new WHO guidance on suicide prevention

Kia ora whānau

I recently spent two days in Dunedin and Queenstown. I appreciated the opportunity to connect with people from across the local mental health and wellbeing system including DHB specialist services, Mirror Services and Ashburn Clinic.  

I also met with Mayor Jim Boult of the Queenstown Lakes District and a group of local health and social service leaders about the impact loss of tourism is having on the local community. The pressures on the Central Lakes community are significant and it was inspiring to learn more about the psychosocial and wellbeing response and meet the people working so hard to ensure local needs are met. It was also great to get out and have conversations with people about the different opportunities, successes and challenges in their district.

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

Toni Gutschlag
Deputy Director-General, Mental Health and Addiction

There is so much outstanding work happening to support people with mental health and alcohol and drug needs across Aotearoa. On behalf of the Mental Health and Addiction Directorate, I’d like to offer our warmest congratulations to Dr Denise Guy, Janet Peters, and Tracey Tawha-Wright, who were recognised for their services to mental health in the Queen’s Birthday Honours this year. And, as shown by the wonderful recipients of the Le Va Futures that Work scholarships awarded on Tuesday night, there are also many bright, keen, positive people just starting out in the mental health and addiction Pacific workforce.

It’s great to see rural mental health and wellbeing becoming a regular part of the Fieldays event. The Farmstrong team will be onsite to help visitors develop quality skills to become better listeners as part of their You Matter – Let’s Natter work, and later in this newsletter you can read about the activities the Rural Support Trust has planned in the Health and Wellbeing Hub.  

Progress continues with the wider health reforms, and you may have seen that the Minister of Health is now calling for nominations for the interim Māori Health Authority and Health New Zealand Boards. The transformation that we have started in the mental health and addiction sector is well-aligned with the direction signalled through the health and disability system reforms. We are committed to maintaining momentum with our programme while working with both the Transition Unit and the sector to consider how mental health and addiction fits within the wider reforms.

And finally, congratulations to Karen Orsborn appointed as the Chief Executive of the Mental Health and Wellbeing Commission. We look forward to continuing to work with the Commission as we transform our approach to mental wellbeing in Aotearoa.

Ngā mihi,

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