Mental health and addiction inquiry

Between February and November 2018 the Inquiry panel heard people’s views on mental health and addiction and changes needed

He Ara Oranga: Report of the Government Inquiry into Mental Health and Addiction was released in December 2018. The government’s response will be in March 2019.

People with severe mental health and addiction needs remain a priority. The panel’s report states “we will always have a special responsibility to those most in need”. 

The panel’s recommendations build on existing foundations to provide a continuum of support that are intended to transform New Zealand’s approach to services. The report emphasises wellbeing and community; better prevention and early intervention; expanded access and choice of services; treatment closer to home, whānau and community- based cross-government actions.

Clear signals emphasise the importance of growing the workforce, particularly peers, Māori and Pasifika workers; enhancing capability and leadership; and workforce wellbeing. These aspects were highlighted in Te Pou’s workforce stocktake commissioned by the Inquiry to examine workforce challenges and potential solutions. 

The current DHB and NGO secondary care workforce (about 12,500 FTEs) is filled by people who are skilled and committed to making a difference for people with mental health and addiction needs. Recommendations to expand access and choice of services necessitates workforce planning be undertaken to rethink the number of workers required in the future, and workforce composition, skills and development needs. 

Find out more about the inquiry and submissions.

Our full submission, available below, included five key messages for Government, the mental health and addiction sectors and whole community:

  • There is a looming mental health and addiction workforce crisis.
  • We need to change the composition of the workforce and the way it is educated and trained.
  • We need further investment in focused workforce development initiatives.
  • We need evidence-based approaches to workforce planning and development. 
  • We need to support and look after our most important asset: our workforce