Leadership as a mental wellbeing system enabler Insights on progress toward Kia Manawanui report

The Leadership as a mental wellbeing system enabler: Insights on progress toward Kia Manawanui report focuses on one aspect of the ‘long-term pathway’ to transform Aotearoa’s approach to mental health and wellbeing.

Kia Manawanui was released in 2021 and it is timely for the Commission to consider if the right foundations have been put in place to deliver the medium and long-term changes. The cross-government, 10-year plan lays out a broad range of short, medium, and long-term actions. These sit under six key system enablers: Leadership, Policy, Investment, Information, Technology, and Workforce.

Recognising the importance of system-level leadership, this report focuses on the short-term leadership actions. Without shifts in system leadership, other changes in policy, workforce, and investment are unlikely to be sustained over the long term.

Drawing on interviews with 33 leaders from across mental health, addiction and wellbeing systems, this is the first independent report with insights on progress toward Kia Manawanui.

As Kia Manawanui shifts into its third year and medium-term set of actions, the health system structural changes settle, and the government considers developing its first Mental Health and Wellbeing Strategy, this report demonstrates that government must maintain and strengthen lived experience leadership in the system and drive cross-government leadership to address mental health and wellbeing.

We make the following calls to action:

1.   Ensure Māori lived experience leaders are prioritised in the changes to health system structures following the disestablishment of Te Aka Whai Ora.

2.  Resource and support an independent lived experience infrastructure, co-designed with the lived experience community.

3.  Update Kia Manawanui or any new strategy or implementation plan with clear and measurable mechanisms to drive cross-government collaboration on the determinants of mental wellbeing, prioritising people with high and unmet needs.

At the same time, invest in the future to:

4.    Make destigmatisation training and education on the role and value of lived experience widely available for the health workforce and other agencies.  

5. Invest in tāngata whaiora Māori to decide, design and deliver solutions and develop pathways to grow the lived experience workforce.

6.  Increase resourcing of kaupapa Māori organisations and approaches. Prioritise community partnerships to design and deliver projects which address the intersection of housing and health needs.

7.  Develop and publish mental health and wellbeing system performance measures which are designed in partnership with lived experience communities, informed by the voices of lived experience leaders in this report, and aligned to He Ara Oranga.