Commission will provide system oversight of new mental wellbeing long-term pathway

Mental Health and Wellbeing Commission welcomes release of Kia Manawanui as we lead our agenda to support transformation

The Mental Health and Wellbeing Commission welcomes today’s release of Kia Manawanui Aotearoa, the government’s long-term pathway to mental wellbeing, by Minister of Health, Hon Andrew Little.

“We are very pleased to see the pathway launched today as the Government continues to show commitment to drive change and deliver on its obligation to He Ara Oranga. This pathway is an important step forward in transforming our mental health and addiction system and gives us a benchmark from which we can monitor progress," says Board Chair, Hayden Wano.

"We believe in a future where mental wellbeing is attainable for everyone and support the call from Mā te rongo ake to take a whole-systems approach to transformation. Through values-based leadership, working collaboratively, and bringing focus to the right things, meaningful change can happen on the ground.”

Hayden Wano says the Commission has been calling for a clear implementation plan for the direction set by He Ara Oranga and wants to see five critical areas prioritised:

  • upholding Te Tiriti o Waitangi and improving outcomes for Māori, including community-led design of kaupapa Māori services that are by Māori, for Māori
  • working with people with lived experience of mental distress and addiction to expand access to services and choice in support options so people can recover from mental distress and addiction in their local communities
  • increasing equity for priority groups - those communities that we know disproportionately experience mental distress and addiction
  • working alongside people with lived experience of mental distress to repeal and replace the Mental Health Act - ensuring that all legislation upholds people’s human rights and meets New Zealand’s obligations under international conventions and treaties
  • maintaining a holistic view of wellbeing that acknowledges the impact of social and economic factors on people’s wellbeing, such as poverty, poor housing, discrimination, and other forms of disadvantage.

The Commission provides system leadership and oversight by monitoring people’s wellbeing in Aotearoa and the things that help people to be and stay well, as well as assessing how our mental health and addiction system supports people’s wellbeing.

“We see our role as being the eyes and ears of the people and reflecting those views back to government. As an independent Crown entity, we look at how the system promotes health and wellbeing, as well as how the system identifies and responds to people experiencing mental distress or addiction (or both), and their whānau, families, and supporters,” says Hayden Wano.

“The Commission is well-positioned to support this next complex and challenging stage in evolving our wellbeing system. We have been working hard to grow strong relationships with priority groups who disproportionately experience mental distress and addiction, as well as people with lived experience of mental distress and addiction, so we can strongly advocate for system improvements,” says Hayden Wano.

Later this year, the Commission will publish its first wellbeing report as well as its first report on the mental health and addiction system.

“We understand the urgent need for action. The Commission will provide insights and advice on what works well and bring people together to make it happen. Whānau and communities want to see things moving forward – the need at a local level is now. We will make sure that the need for mental health reform and advancing Aotearoa’s wellbeing agenda is kept front and centre across government,” says Hayden Wano.