Mental Health & Addiction Update - 22 April 2022

on 26 April


In this edition:

  • Pokies rules – have your say
  • Workforce development proposals now on GETS
  • Antiviral treatment now available for COVID-19
  • Mental health and addiction nurse recruitment campaign
  • E-learning for support workers in primary care settings

Kia ora koutou

It’s a short update from me this month as I’m just getting back on my feet having been knocked around by

That experience reiterated to me the importance of having a good team around you and also the critical need for a strong plan for keeping things running smoothly in the event that Omicron sneaks up on you. It is a good time to mention my thanks to the team who stepped up in my absence.

Philip Grady Deputy Director-General, Mental Health and Addiction

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

I also want to give a shout out to all of you who have supported the vaccination programme and the focus on mental health and addiction tāngata whaiora vaccination rates. With the flu season on the horizon, it’s a good time to get some extra protection. We have to do what we can to protect ourselves and the wider mental health and addiction workforce.

With that in mind, one of the important focuses for us at the Ministry currently is ensuring we are doing everything we can to help provide workforce development initiatives to support our sector.

While you may have seen the launch of the mental health nursing recruitment campaign recently, there are many, many other initiatives in the pipeline. We are all working on plans to grow the existing workforce, support and upskill it and, of course, develop new workforces and fill the vacancies.

In terms of upskilling, we have recently launched two RFPs (requests for proposals) looking for providers to create and deliver cultural competency training in relation to Asian and refugee communities, and new training on perinatal (infant and maternal) mental health. There are currently open on GETs.

You’ll see in this edition of the newsletter that there’s a lot happening across the board. The public consultation on reducing gambling harm from pokies, run by the Department of Internal Affairs, is closing soon and I encourage you to contribute to that, if you have an interest or an opinion.

In the next week, you’ll also receive an important email inviting you to take part in the discussion of the System and Services Framework.

The Framework intends to identify the core components of a contemporary mental health and addiction system in Aotearoa New Zealand. It aims to set the expectations for what is planned, commissioned, delivered, and monitored locally, regionally, and nationally. It will focus on oritetanga (equity) and how services respond to their communities' needs and work together to ensure effective pathways and transitions.

We started working on this last year, with an initial Lived Experience Design Group and targeted hui, and we are at the stage where we would like your feedback on our current thinking.

This is an exciting piece of work and one that will really bring together some of the building blocks for an improved the mental health and addiction system in Aotearoa New Zealand.

Finally, I hope that you have managed to have a break over Easter, but for those who didn’t, I want to extend my gratitude for keeping support services running and allowing your colleague to take a much-deserved break.

Please make sure you take the opportunity sometime soon to also take a break and prioritise your own wellbeing and that of your whanau.

Ngā mihi nui,

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