Mental Health and Wellbeing Commission calls for stronger action to transform key areas of the mental health and addiction system

Te Huringa: Change and Transformation. Mental Health Service and Addiction Service Monitoring Report 2022 [PDF, 958 KB] is being released today. The report monitors the performance of mental health services and addictions services between 2016 / 17 and 2020 / 21.

“Despite significant investment in mental health and addiction services through the 2019 Wellbeing Budget, improvements in services have not materialised as we had hoped for over this time,” says Commission Board Chair Hayden Wano.

“We commend the investment in additional, and much needed, primary and community services, but more is needed to address pressures on specialist services, particularly for young people.

“The current health reforms, and the newly-created Health NZ and the Māori Health Authority, provide opportunities to embed strong leadership in their operating models and enhance the focus on mental health and wellbeing.  This also creates an opportunity to hear the voices of Māori and people with lived experience and provide a greater choice of supports.”

To transform the system toward the vision of He Ara Oranga, the Commission in its role of kaitiaki (guardian) of mental health and wellbeing, wants to see Te Tiriti o Waitangi obligations upheld, investment in kaupapa Māori services, peer services, youth services, and other community-based specialist services. The Commission is also calling for a decrease in compulsory treatment orders and mental health law that does not discriminate on the basis of having a ‘mental disorder’.

Hayden Wano says that this type of transformation requires not just investment, but strong leadership and a well-managed plan to execute change. It also requires an approach whereby the voices of Māori and tāngata whaiora (people with lived experience of distress and addiction, substance, or gambling harm) can be heard and given prominence.

“While there is much to do, this report is also an opportunity for us to acknowledge some examples of genuine progress. Service volumes have been maintained during the pandemic and there is evidence of growing collaboration between public health services and other community-based organisations.

“Enormous effort is going on to effect changes like this, which we believe will ultimately pay huge dividends in service improvement.”


For further information, contact:

Mental Health and Wellbeing Commission or 021 613 723