More people are accessing new services through the Access and Choice programme, however, there has been a decrease in people accessing specialist mental health and addiction services and other primary mental health services, and little or no change on other measures of service quality. This is according to today’s Te Hiringa Mahara – the Mental Health and Wellbeing Commission, Te Huringa Tuarua 2023: Mental Health and Addiction Service Monitoring Report.

The report explores what has changed in mental health and addiction services over the last five years and highlights the pressing need for action to address the challenges faced by mental health and addiction services. It shows that fewer people have used specialist services, primary mental health initiatives, telehealth and online services than in the previous year. As a result of substantial investment, people are accessing new services being rolled out under the Access and Choice programme.

“There have been substantial increases in medication dispensing, particularly for young people, and this warrants further exploration of whether young people have a full range of treatment options available. In addition, they continue to experience long waiting times to access specialist services. Our young people deserve better,” says Te Hiringa Mahara Board Chair Hayden Wano.

“The workforce has grown for specialist adult mental health and addiction services over the last five years, but workforce vacancies have doubled. We want to see a clear strategy and roadmap to address the ongoing workforce shortages.

“Coercive practices continue to be widely used, particularly for Māori and Pacific peoples. All services need to urgently address these inequities. We must keep te Tiriti o Waitangi, people and whānau at the heart of a transformed mental health and addiction system. We want to see more by Māori, for Māori approaches, such as kaupapa Māori services.

“The improvement we need requires our collective leadership. There are some very early signs of progress, however the scale of the challenge ahead is significant. We need to grasp the opportunities of the reforms and accelerate transformation towards the vision laid out in He Ara Oranga(external link).”

Read the report

Back to the news

Last modified: