Mental Health & Addiction Update - June 2023

on 26 June

Mental Health & Addiction update

In this edition:

  • Message from Kiri Richards
  • Update on Kia Manawanui: implementing a mental wellbeing approach
  • Elevating lived experience wisdom
  • 15-year anniversary celebrated with Pacific mental health scholarships
  • Second Ngā Paerewa Te Tiriti eLearning module now available
  • Digital mental health and addiction assessment framework

Message from Kiri Richards
Associate Deputy Director-General of Mental Health and Addiction

Kia ora koutou

This month we look at our recently published update on Kia Manawanui, we highlight the mahi of our Lived Experience leaders at Manatū Hauora and highlight the Pacific mental health and addiction workforce scholarships.

Kia Manawanui is our long-term pathway to mental wellbeing and this month we published an overview of the progress that has been made towards the actions set out in this strategy and action planThis is the first of what will become more regular updates on where we are at in the transformation of Aotearoa New Zealand’s approach to mental wellbeing.

There is still much work to do as we work better together across government, and with communities, whānau and people with lived experience, to promote and protect mental wellbeing, equip people to stay well and continue to support our mental health and addiction services and workforces. But I think this is a good time to collectively take stock and look at some of what we have achieved this far.

One area of progress is how as a system we’re growing and diversifying the workforce and this month we feature a story from Te Whatu Ora about more than 125 Pacific scholarships awarded to students working towards a career in mental health and addiction. This is the kind initiative that is helping ensure we have a workforce that is not only representative, but also has the cultural competency, we need.

If you are interested in learning more about mental wellbeing both here and internationally, New Zealand is a member of the International Initiative for Mental Health Leadership (IIMHL) and you can join this network for free and receive interesting reports or articles about work underway around the world. Similarly, you can also join the International Initiative for Disability Leadership (IIDL) network.

We’re into the winter months now and with colder temperatures and shorter days, we may notice changes in our energy levels and mood that can impact on our day-to-day wellbeing. Please look after yourselves, both physically and mentally, and continue to look out for those around you. Remember that there are range of support services available if you need to reach out.

I know winter is a particularly busy time for all our kaimahi working hard every day to support New Zealanders to be well so I’d like to finish with a sincere thank you to you all for your hard work, dedication and commitment.

Take care and I hope you enjoy reading the updates below. 


Update on Kia Manawanui: implementing a mental wellbeing approach

As mentioned above, this week we published an update on progress towards implementing Kia Manawanui - Long-term pathway to mental wellbeing.

Kia Manawanui sets out the vision of an Aotearoa where mental wellbeing is promoted and protected, people are supported to stay well, and they can get the support they need, when and where they need it.

This report demonstrates the progress we have made towards this fundamental shift in how we approach mental wellbeing.  

We can’t achieve mental wellbeing for all through the health system alone. Ensuring good mental wellbeing for everyone requires all of us to act collectively to make improvements – government agencies, cross-sector delivery partners, communities, whānau and individuals.

Read the Update on implementing a wellbeing approach 

Read the news item Update on progress towards implementing a mental wellbeing approach

Family walking on the beach in the sun.

Image of girl playing in a tree. 

Hannah Whittaker-Komatsu and Martin Burke.

Elevating lived experience wisdom

Throughout He Ara Oranga, the report of the Government inquiry into mental health and addiction, people with lived experience and their whānau were recognised as holding critical knowledge as experts, leaders, advocates as well as service providers and users. It called for increasing involvement from them. 

Martin Burke and Hannah Whittaker-Komatsu, Lived Experience members of the Mental Health and Addiction Lived Experience and Clinical Advisory Group within Manatū Hauora, are driving a significant programme of the work to ensure this happens.

“Our role is to support Manatū Hauora to understand the lived experience of people whose lives are affected by the decisions made.  We create relationships that enable Manatū Hauora to incorporate the knowledge, wisdom and expertise developed through lived experience into all aspects of the mental health and addiction system – from policy and legislation through to service design and delivery,” says Hannah.

“We act as a conduit for the unique sets of knowledge and experience of our vibrant and varied lived experience communities, networks and individuals. This knowledge and experience is vital to the construction of the new mental health and addiction landscape,” says Martin.

One part of their work is building and expanding the Lived Experience Knowledge Network which helps the sharing of knowledge and wisdom between Manatū Hauora and the people whose lives might be affected by the policies and services we develop.

If you want to know more about this group and the work, they are doing please contact Martin or Hannah on

15-year anniversary celebrated with 125 scholarships for Pacific mental health

Pacific peoples workforce and training provider Le Va recently celebrated its 15th anniversary with a very special ceremony. The event saw scholarships awarded to more than 125 students working toward a career in mental health and addiction care.

The ‘Futures That Work’ scholarships and support programme is aimed at growing the Pacific mental health and addiction workforce so that services are better meeting the needs of Pacific people and their families.

Te Whatu Ora Health New Zealand’s Mental Health and Addiction Workforce Programme funds the scholarships which are helping to increase the diversity of the overall workforce and, in many cases, to better represent the communities they serve.

This also comes off the back of the expansion of the specific Access and Choice Pacific services which by March this year had delivered 42,400 wellbeing sessions for Pacific peoples experiencing mild to moderate mental health and wellbeing issues.

Attendees at a hui run by the Suicide Prevention Office and the Maori Health Directorate

From left to right, Rachel Enosa, CE The Cause Collective. Ofeina Barbarich-Manuel, Programme Manager Pacific Workforce Lead. Markerita Poutassi, National Director Pacific Health. Denise Kingi-Uluave, CE Le Va. Hon. Barbara Edmonds, Minister for Pacific Peoples. Pauline Sanders, Pacific Workforce Lead Pacific Health. Jo Chiplin, Acting Director MH&A Commissioning. Sue Dashfield, Programme Director MH&A Commissioning.

Image of the front page of He Arotake ngā Tūraru Reviewing risk: A discussion paper.

Image of two people talking over a cup of tea

Second Ngā Paerewa Te Tiriti eLearning module now available

Health and disability providers are invited to complete the second Ngā Paerewa te Tiriti eLearning module.

This is the second free module developed by the HealthCERT team in Manatū Hauora to support providers to meet the requirements relating to te Tiriti o Waitangi and cultural safety in the updated Ngā Paerewa Health and Disability Services Standard NZS 8134:2021.

The first module provides a high-level introduction to how te Tiriti principles are applied in the health and disability sector. This second module dives deeper into what meaningful actions providers can take to re-design their services to be culturally responsive and te Tiriti based.   

You can access this latest module on our LearnOnline platform: Second te Tiriti Ngā Paerewa eLearning module.  

Or access the first module here: First te Tiriti Ngā Paerewa eLearning module

For more information on both modules, visit: Ngā Paerewa: Training and Support

Image of young person looking at laptop

Digital mental health and addiction assessment framework

In Aotearoa New Zealand we have a range of trusted digital mental health and wellbeing tools, such as apps and online programmes, which are providing support and care to more and more people every day.  However, with the rapid adoption of e-mental health apps and online self-help programmes, comes the need to ensure those solutions are safe, effective and trustworthy.

We wanted to remind people of the work led by Manatū Hauora in 2021 to develop the Digital Mental Health and Addiction Assessment Tool, which is a framework to help those designing or building a digital product that will support mental wellbeing.

The framework sets out the baseline standards expected of e-mental health tools for users in Aotearoa New Zealand and provides a self-assessment tool for designers and developers of digital mental health apps and tools.

You can find the tool here:  

Ministry of Health - Manatū Hauora

Back to blog entries

Areas of Interest