Mental Health & Addiction Update - 5 October 2022

on 6 October

all of govt and ministry of health logo

In this edition:

  • Repealing and replacing the Mental Health Act
  • Update on the System and Service Framework
  • Supporting Parents Healthy Children competition
  • Register today for the KPI Programme National Forum
  • Harkness Fellowship


Kia ora koutou

Last week was Mental Health Awareness Week, and I really appreciated this year’s theme of “reconnecting”. Reconnecting is particularly relevant because our connections to whānau, friends and communities build wellbeing and resilience. Reconnecting can also mean returning to your favourite place, or getting back into a hobby or habit you’ve let slide. Sometimes it seems easier to focus on the wellbeing of others rather than focusing on our own needs, so I hope you had an opportunity to take stock of your own wellbeing and reconnect with someone or something important. If you are still looking for ideas, there are many great suggestions, activities, and resources available on the Mental Health Awareness Week website, run by the Mental Health Foundation.

photo of Dr Arran Culver

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

Recently I was lucky enough to attend an event in Auckland held by the Suicide Prevention Office and Le Va, to commemorate World Suicide Prevention Day and celebrate the incredible mahi happening in this space. There were a range of speakers, including the Acting Director-General of Health, Dr Diana Sarfati, and a video from Minister Henare, Associate Minister of Health. A real highlight for me was seeing the LifeKeeper awards being presented to the many worthy recipients. These awards are for people quietly working in communities, making a real difference in suicide prevention efforts. Thank you to Le Va, Te Rau Ora, the team at the Suicide Prevention Office, and everyone involved in this work. You can watch a recording of the livestream on He Kāpehu Whetū, the Suicide Prevention Office website.

We are continuing to focus on a number of significant pieces of work within the Ministry, including repealing and replacing the Mental Health Act, and the System and Service Framework. There is information on both these initiatives in the newsletter below. There is also a lot of work happening within the Child and Youth Wellbeing Strategy, and we’ll be sharing more on this soon.

Finally, I’m pleased to see that there continues to be discussion across the sector on recommendation 35 of He Ara Oranga, which encouraged “a national discussion to reconsider beliefs, evidence and attitudes about mental health and risk”. There was a productive panel discussion on risk at the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists conference last week, with Phyllis Tangitu and Hannah Whittaker-Komatsu offering excellent perspectives to broaden the clinical view. Manatū Hauora is keen to support this work and encourage people to start the discussion within their own organisations and communities.

Ngā mihi,

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