Mental Health & Addiction Update - 4 March 2022

on 7 March


In this edition:

  • Phase 3 of the Omicron response

  • Triple P courses now available for all parents

  • Two mental health and addiction initiatives on show in Tāmaki Makaurau

  • Gathering COVID-19 insights from people with lived experience

  • Resources and information about the vaccine for people with lived experience

  • KPI Programme Super Benchmarking Week is coming


Kia ora koutou

With the events of the last few weeks in Wellington, it was great to get out of the city and visit Christchurch recently with the Minister of Health Andrew Little. The visit was to meet with some of the people and places helping to deliver critical frontline mental wellbeing and addiction support to residents of Otautahi.

As well as a focus on the current challenges we face, the trip also involved a look forward to the future. This included meeting the January intake of new entry to specialist practice (NESP) nurses and the new Allied Health professionals.

Philip Grady Deputy Director-General, Mental Health and Addiction

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

While on the infrastructure side, we toured the building site at Hillmorton which will house inpatient and community outpatient services for Mothers and Babies, eating disorders and inpatient only services for Child, Adolescent and Family. The Southern Health School will be accommodated within this building too.

We had the privileged of also visiting a training day for Canterbury’s Health Coaches and Health Improvement Practitioners as part of their ongoing professional development. So far over 13,000 people in Canterbury have seen a HIP, HC or support worker, and the Access and Choice programme has delivered more than 31,000 sessions. It’s a great service, full of motivated people doing important work.

It’s been a big couple of weeks for the sector, as only a day prior the expanded supports available to Auckland’s tertiary students were announced. This will cover about 80,000 students in time for the start of the year and, as part of a $25 million package over four years, these will soon also be rolled out nationally. At most all of these events, we met with mental health workers and on all occasions, the passion, commitment and resilience on display from these professionals was a real credit to our sector. I know it’s a really tough time for many with Omicron making its presence felt and staff shortages starting to stretch our workforce, so I wanted to pass on my thanks to those involved.

Support for our workforce is a particularly important focus this year for the Ministry of Health. One of the initiatives we’ve been working on is a recruitment campaign to attract more people into mental health and addiction nursing. The campaign, set to be launched soon, features real nurses from within our sector. It shows the positive impact mental health and addiction workers have on communities, as well as the diversity of skills and roles.

The mental health workforce has been a critical part of the Government’s COVID-19 response and has proved its worth many times over. In light of the challenges and stress Omicron is putting on our systems, it’s important to me to acknowledge just how hard you are all working and how important it is that we show leadership as a Ministry to work to ease some of the pressures. We are continuing to review any options that may do that.

In the meantime, I want to thank those of you who have worked tirelessly to protect the service user community from COVID-19. We recently hit 85 percent of all service users fully vaccinated and the booster campaign is also making strong progress. For many, vaccine hesitancy has been a real hurdle, so the fact that the numbers continue to climb speaks to the care, empathy and positive influence many of you are using to help more of our people keep safer. Thank you for all that you do.

Ngā mihi,

Click here to view full update

Back to blog entries

Areas of Interest