Mental health and addiction targets welcomed

The announcement of targets to address wait times and workforce pressures across the mental health and addiction system has been welcomed by Te Hiringa Mahara – Mental Health and Wellbeing Commission.

“Access to appropriate services when and where they are needed is very important to people seeking help and their whānau. These targets will help focus effort on making sure services are available,” says Mental Health and Wellbeing Commission Board chair Hayden Wano.

“In our briefing to incoming Ministers we made a strong case for mental health and addiction targets to be developed, so it is good to see the announcement of these five targets.”

“To achieve the target, resources need to be aligned, a concrete action plan put in place, and more effort put into building system leadership momentum. We also hope to see the Minister for Mental Health closely involved.”

“The focus on access acts as a barometer of the state of the whole mental health and addiction system. However, it doesn’t tell the full picture, therefore we need a wider range of high-level measures across both primary/community and specialist services.”

“We really need to know if there are population groups that are missing out, if people have real choice, and if services are high quality. In particular, it is important services are tailored to meet the needs and choices expressed by Māori because of the high proportion of the population that experiences mental distress."

Te Hiringa Mahara tracks a wide range of measures and reports on these in the He Ara Āwhina dashboard. This helps us understand where there are pressures on the system and where improvements need to be made.

In early June, the Commission released Kua Tīmata Te Haerenga | The Journey Has Begun, our 2024 mental health and addiction services monitoring report. The focused was on access and options, and recommendations were made to ensure that those needing a higher level of care get the support they need.

“We would like to see the new targets unlock the ambition of those working across the mental health and addiction service to transform the system. As wellbeing about accountability, the targets can help people working across the system to see where they can do better,” Mr Wano said.