Mental Health and Addiction Update - 19 November 2021

on 22 November


In this edition:

  • Repealing and replacing the Mental Health Act

  • High Alert’s first year

  • MHIP’s second stakeholder forum

  • Digital Framework launched

  • Memorandum of Understanding between the Ministry of Health and Police


Kia ora koutou

November has been a very busy month for the Mental Health and Addiction Directorate, and I have no doubt this will be the same right across the sector. From my time working on wards, to my time working at DHBs, to now - one constant has been things always seem to get busier towards the end of the year. 

We’ve contributed to a number of developments, consultations and announcements that may be of interest. Most recently, we have expanded Northland’s successful Te Ara Oranga methamphetamine harm reduction programme and it will arrive in the Eastern Bay of Plenty in mid-2022.

Philip Grady Deputy Director-General, Mental Health and Addiction

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

We’ve also pulled together a $5.6 million psychosocial response package for Tāmaki Makaurau, to support those working so hard under tough conditions. The list of thanks yous is too long for this newsletter on these important pieces of work, so to everyone involved – thank you.

As well as ministerial announcements, funding updates and work to increase service user vaccination rates, we’ve had a couple of different consultations and engagements underway. The first is consultation on the Mental Health Act repeal and replacement. Anyone can make a submission and I hope those of you with something to say or contribute will come forward. It’s clear this legislation hasn’t moved with the times and we need to make sure what replaces it does. 

The other engagement underway is less high-profile at this stage but it will be a big piece of work for 2022 as it ramps up. Currently, targeted engagement is underway on our current framework of systems and services. This is for small groups who are helping us to shape the initial ideas that came from the first round of discussions with the lived-experience community. Early next year this will be opened up for everybody, so keep an eye out for that.

You can also keep an eye out in early December for a number of reports that will be published, those include the 2020 Office of the Director of Mental Health and Addiction Services Regulatory Report, 2020/21 mental health and addiction specialist service data and a Year in Review document amongst the many. We are working hard to be as open and transparent as possible.

So, with all the work that's going on, I hope you are all keeping well – particularly those of you who are based in Tāmaki Makaurau. It’s pleasing to see efforts across the country as DHBs work hard to increase vaccination rates. I know there will be many of you looking to safely reconnect with family, friends and colleagues when the traffic light system comes into play in mid-December. I know I will be too.

Finally, I visited a Kaupapa Maori health centre in Wainuiomata this week which provides a Health Improvement Practitioner and Health Coach funded by the Access and Choice programme.This service has stuck a cord in Wainuiomata and is being well-utilised by local people looking to improve their wellbeing. There’s a video below with a bit more detail.

Ngā mihi,

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