Mental Health & Addiction Update - 8 July 2022

on 11 July

all of govt and ministry of health logo

In this edition:

  • Intellectual Disability (Compulsory Care and Rehabilitation) Act 2003

  • Mental Health and Addiction NGO workforce survey

  • Strategy to Prevent and Minimise Gambling Harm

  • System and Service Framework

  • Expansion of free flu jabs

  • Join the fight against winter illness and wear a mask


Kia ora koutou

Both Te Whatu Ora – Health New Zealand and Te Aka Whai Ora – Māori Health Authority were officially launched last Friday, and hopefully you will have been able to take part in some of the activities held across the motu to celebrate the new health system.

This is a huge moment, as these reforms provide the opportunity to further strengthen services - from care provided in the community through to specialist services. We are excited about this new era for health in Aotearoa New Zealand and are working hard to make sure there is a positive transition and that tāngata whaiora, whānau and staff are supported through these changes.


photo of Dr Arran Culver

Dr Arran Culver
Acting Associate Director-General, Mental Health and Addiction

While a lot of the focus is on the new entities and what their role will be, I wanted to confirm what the reforms mean for the mental health and addiction team within the Ministry of Health.

Firstly, we remain one integrated team within the Ministry. Our functions cover strategy and policy, regulation, clinical and lived experience expertise, and suicide prevention. We are focusing on our stewardship role and building the monitoring function within the team. Additionally, the Director of Mental Health has taken over management of the Intellectual Disability (Compulsory Care and Rehabilitation) Act 2003 – you can find out more below.

We are working closely with other teams across the Ministry, and of course working with our colleagues in Te Whatu Ora and Te Aka Whai Ora, and with Whaikaha – Ministry of Disabled People.

There’s still a lot of information to come, but one thing we can confirm is that our work continues and will remain important.

I hope you saw the recent announcement that people with serious mental health and addiction needs are now eligible for free flu vaccinations. This is fantastic news as it means easier access to the flu vaccine for around 170,000 more people. This is the result of a huge amount of mahi from many people across the sector, so thank you to everyone involved.

This week, Matthew Tukaki joined us as the new Director of the Suicide Prevention Office. Matthew is passionate about preventing suicide in Aotearoa, and keen to get stuck into the work. I’d once again like to acknowledge Dr Sarah Hetrick for acting as Director since October last year while the search for a permanent appointment was underway.

We are well into winter now, and I know that everyone is feeling the pressure and stepping up every day to support New Zealanders to be well. To everyone in the mental health and addiction sector, thank you for your hard work and commitment through this time of change.

Ngā mihi,

Click here to view full update


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