In 2018, Government commissioned an independent inquiry into mental health and addiction in Aotearoa New Zealand. The inquiry brought together thousands of voices to paint a picture of the mental health and addictions landscape, giving life to He Ara Oranga: Report of the Government Inquiry into Mental Health and Addiction.
The catalyst for the inquiry was widespread concern about mental health services, within the mental health sector and the broader community, and calls for a wide-ranging inquiry from service users, their families and whānau, people affected by suicide, people working in health, media, Iwi and advocacy groups. He Ara Oranga set out 40 recommendations to improve the mental health and wellbeing of all people in New Zealand. 38 of these recommendations were accepted by government in full, in principle, or agreed to further consideration.
Establishing an organisation with responsibility for mental health and wellbeing was one of the recommendations accepted by government.