New approach to mental health and addiction issues called for

posted: 9:00 am - 7th December 2018
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(Photo caption: The recently released He Ara Oranga : Report of the Government Inquiry into Mental Health and Addiction represents a once-in-a-generation opportunity to look at how some of the biggest challenges we face as a country are handled.  CREDIT Science Media Centre.)

Mental health and addiction are issues for all New Zealanders and the recently released He Ara Oranga : Report of the Government Inquiry into Mental Health and Addiction represents a once-in-a-generation opportunity to look at how some of the biggest challenges we face as a country are handled.

The Government released the report of the Inquiry in full this week, and Health Minister, Hon. Dr David Clark says it is something every New Zealander should be aware of, with every community and nearly every family having someone in it who has lived with a mental health or addiction challenge.

“Mental health and addiction are issues for all New Zealanders,” Minister Clark says.

“The Inquiry heard many stories of people who did not get the help they needed and deserved.

“We must listen to these voices of people with lived experience.”

He says the report charts a new direction for mental health and addiction in New Zealand, one that puts people at the centre of our approach.

“It is clear we need to do more to support people as they deal with these issues - and do a lot more to intervene earlier and support wellbeing in our communities.”

The Inquiry panel has delivered a set of strong and coherent recommendations covering everything from the social determinants of health and wellbeing, to expanding access to treatment services and taking strong action on alcohol and drugs.

Minister Clark adds the Government is working its way carefully through the 40 recommendations and will formally respond in March.

“I want to be upfront with the public, however, that many of the issues we’re facing, such as workforce shortages, will take years to fix.”

Reshaping New Zealand’s approach to mental health and addiction is no small task and will take some time, but the Minister is confident this report points the country in the right direction, with the release of the Inquiry report marking the start of real change for the better.

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