Work on He Ara Āwhina began with the Initial Mental Health and Wellbeing Commission (Initial Commission) in October 2020.

Co-define phase October 2020 – February 2021

The Initial Commission sought feedback on why we should monitor mental health services and addiction services, what we should include in our monitoring approach, and how we should go about our monitoring work.

Ninety-seven individuals and groups gave feedback through a discussion document, at lived experience focus groups, as well as hui and talanoa with Māori and Pacific communities.

People told us:

  • Support starts and continues with people and communities, not services.The former Mental Health Commissioner’s framework was viewed as being too narrow but was something that could be refined and built upon.
  • The voices of Māori and tāngata whaiora are crucial in assessing whether services, and approaches to wellbeing, are meeting the needs of people and communities.
  • There needs to be a shared view of what ‘good’ or transformative services and supports look like so we can monitor and assess performance and contribute to wellbeing outcomes.

We produced a summary report(external link) of this co-define phase.

In response to the co-define phase feedback, we have developed the He Ara Āwhina framework to monitor and assess the mental health and addiction system as a whole, not just the services that people receive. We are doing this by listening to people and communities and taking on board their ideas.

Co-development phase March 2021 – June 2022

An Expert Advisory Group (EAG) was established for He Ara Āwhina and began its mahi in September 2021, sharing expertise and perspectives to develop the framework.

Advice from the EAG, lived experience focus groups (from Māori, youth, mental health, addiction, and gambling harm perspectives), targeted discussions, and hui with Māori helped us develop the draft version of He Ara Āwhina.

The draft version of He Ara Āwhina went out for public consultation for six weeks from 8 March to 19 April 2022. We supported many ways for people to share feedback to ensure the framework and six-week consultation process was accessible to everyone, especially our priority population groups.

During our public consultation process we received over 260 submissions across all priority population groups.

Overall, people told us that He Ara Āwhina resonates with them and they like the first-person narrative, structure, and concepts. The feedback has guided us to strengthen and clarify content that is important to people.

Through a dedicated Māori engagement team, we gathered strong input by Māori, including tāngata whaiora, whānau, and Kaupapa Māori supports and services. This feedback has been supportive of He Ara Āwhina and helpfully identified concepts that could be strengthened or included across both perspectives.

What people told us, and the changes made in response, are summarised in ‘Voices’ documents showing feedback from Māori, people with Lived Experience, and the Shared perspective. 

The final version of He Ara Āwhina was published 30 June 2022.

Methods and Measurement phase and future reporting July 2022 – March 2023

We are currently in the important stage of the mahi (work) to develop the methods and measures for how we will monitor and assess the mental health and addiction system.

Phase one of this work will be completed by the end of 2022, with a longer development timeframe for measures where data does not exist or are not readily available nationally.

We have established a technical advisory network to provide advice and expertise of methods, measures, data sources and data gaps.

This technical advisory network has a diverse membership that covers the broad scope of He Ara Āwhina, priority groups, and experience of both methods and measures (qualitative and quantitative).

The methods and measurement phase will be guided by our monitoring strategy, strategic direction from our EAG, technical direction from our new advisory, and insights from our public consultation process about what people want to see measured and their expectations for how we monitor.

He Ara Āwhina methods and measures will over time replace those used in Te Huringa

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