Mental Health & Addiction Update - 28 October 2021

on 29 October


In this edition:

  • Vaccination rates for people using Mental Health and Addiction services

  • Repealing and replacing the Mental Health Act

  • Initial amendments to the current Mental Health Act

  • Festival drug-checking services get a boost

  • Colourful competition to raise awareness of Whāraurau services

  • Update on the Health and Disability System Reforms


Kia ora koutou

Plenty to update you on today, but top of mind is the vaccination rates of people using mental health and addiction services. I’m again appealing for your continued leadership and efforts to help those who may still be vaccine-hesitant. Vaccination is without question the best protection we have against COVID-19 and we need to do everything in our power to protect the people we care for. So, if you can help drive this message home, please do. I've included the latest statistics we have below.

Philip Grady Deputy Director-General, Mental Health and Addiction

Philip Grady
Acting Deputy Director-General, Mental Health and Addiction

I also want to send a shout out to our whānau, friends, and colleagues who are still in Alert Level 3. There is light at the end of the tunnel as vaccination rates lift, but I am aware that this has been an incredibly challenging time for you. I see it on some of the faces in video meetings and I hear it when I talk to friends in Auckland. I want to salute those of you with your own challenges and those who are still finding the space every day to help others in some form or another. Your sacrifices are so important for the vaccination effort and I want to acknowledge that the rest of the country owes you a debt of gratitude. 

Work to transform mental health and addiction legislation is well underway. Following on from last month’s launch of our long-term strategy Kia Manawanui, as you’ll see below we have progressed a number of big pieces of work including opening the consultation to repeal and replace the Mental Health Act, and the Mental Health Act amendments.

There’s also been progress on the System Services and Framework workstream, which is a key part of ensuring New Zealanders can get the mental health and addiction support they need, when, where, and how they need it.

This work is being progressed alongside work led by the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet’s Transition Unit to develop a mental health and addiction annex of the interim New Zealand Health Plan. We are working closely with that Unit to ensure alignment between these two documents that together will signal the future direction for New Zealand’s services and supports for mental wellbeing.

You’ll appreciate developing a Framework to describe future services is a large piece of work and is being broken up into phases. Invitations are in process of going out for some targeted engagement to help us build on the initial concepts generated by our lived experience design group. A small number of identified groups and individuals will be receiving an invitation to join a workshop and provide thoughts and insights to shape the first draft of the Framework and consider how it can meet the needs of specific population groups.

Do not be concerned if you aren’t involved in this phase, everyone will have the opportunity to influence and contribute to the framework once sector-wide engagement gets underway in the new year. 

Ngā mihi,

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