A consistent theme of our recent Addiction Leadership Day was how do we ensure that evidence and the outcomes of systemic reviews are integrated into routine practice and service delivery?
This theme emerged firstly in a presentation from Ian Lambie who, in his role as Chief Science Advisor for the justice sector, developed the following discussion papers for the Ministry of Justice on preventing youth offending:
- It’s never too early, never too late: A discussion paper on preventing youth offending in New Zealand (12 June 2018)
- Using evidence to build a better justice system: The challenge of rising prison costs (29 March 2018)
Ian identified that the New Zealand prison population is growing at a faster rate than the crime rate, despite good evidence that incarceration does little to prevent future offending, and in fact serves as a training ground for young offenders.
What will we do to put the evidence into action?
Evidence has repeatedly identified that early intervention and prevention, especially with young people, is the best way to reduce crime rates. Ian put forward these evidence-based approaches to reduce offending and imprisonment:
- break the intergenerational cycle
- support families of zero to two-year-olds
- address severely challenging behaviour
- support caregivers who are struggling
- provide effective parenting training
- recognise that persistent offenders start young … 99% have been in care
- find ‘family’ alternatives to gangs
- provide multi-level therapeutic interventions for older children and adolescents.
Ian's call to action was, what will we do to put the evidence into action to ensure his report does not sit on a shelf gathering dust until the next review?
Observations from the Panel
Following Ian’s summary of his report, the mental health and addiction inquiry panel shared some of their preliminary observations about the common themes emerging from hui around the country.
At the hui the panel has heard calls for:
- more codesign of services
- more collaborative work across agencies
- ‘compassion’ as a component of professional development
- stigma to be addressed
- rapid access to treatment
- care to be provided across the life course
- more consideration of the voices of people with lived experience of addiction and mental health issues.
The inquiry will be reporting to the Minister of Health in October.
NCAT submission to the Inquiry
Read the National Committee for Addiction Treatment (NCAT) submission to the Government inquiry into mental health and addiction. This submission was developed following the March Addiction Leadership Day.
Chief Executive of Te Pou o te Whakaaro Nui, Robyn Shearer presented about internal changes to the structure of Te Pou o te Whakaaro Nui and what this has meant for the ongoing work of Matua Raḵi.
Robyn also provided insights from the recent IIMHL leadership exchange in Sweden.
Awareness of how to use the lessons from implementation science and active committed leadership is required to ensure evidence is translated into system and practice change. How the sector embraces these approaches will determine if Ian’s report and the Inquiry recommendations are to make a difference to the wellbeing of tāngata whai ora.