Mental Health & Addictions Committee

We are the union for mental health & addiction workers.

mental healthThe Mental Health & Addictions Committee advocates for the unique needs of mental health workers. Focusing on sector-specific issues, we're working to improve the pay and conditions for mental health & addiction workers.

About the Committee 

The committee is made up of PSA members working in mental health & addictions in the DHB, Community Public Services and Public Service sectors. Meeting regularly, committee members bring issues from the sector to the table for action and discussion.

Our vision is for everyone in Aotearoa New Zealand to have access to free, high-quality public mental health and addiction recovery care provided by well-trained, valued and fairly rewarded staff working in safe conditions.

Recently, we’ve been active in:

  • Campaigning for and engaging in each stage of the Government Inquiry into Mental Health and Addiction
  • Making a submission on the Mental Health (Compulsory Assessment and Treatment) Amendment Bill
  • Making a submission in support of the formation of a Mental Health and Wellbeing Commission 
  • Submitting to the Ministry of Health’s Mental Health and Addictions Workforce Action Plan;
  • Advocating for better funding and support for mental health services;
  • Looking at the potential impacts of social bonds on PSA members and their communities.

Timeline of PSA engagement in the Government Inquiry into Mental Health & Addiction Services 

  • 2017 - PSA campaigns for an inquiry into MH&A services
  • January 2018 - MH&A Inquiry announced 
  • June 2018 - Submission of the PSA to the Government Inquiry into MHA
  • December 2018 - He Ara Oranga: Report of the Government Inquiry into Mental Health & Addiction released 
  • January 2019 - Feedback collected from PSA members through five regional forums and a survey
  • February 2019 - Feedback collated and presented at a National Forum in Wellington on Feb 22nd, to Ministry of Health Deputy Director General Mental Health and Addiction, Robyn Shearer. 
  • February 2019 - Feedback from PSA Members working in MHA on 'He Ara Oranga Recommendations' submit to the Inquiry 
  • May 2019 - Government response to He Ara Oranga, accepting, accepting in principle, or agreeing to further consideration of 38 of the 40 recommendations
  • May 2019 - Budget 2019 takes a transformative approach to mental health, wellbeing and addiction systems and services in New Zealand.
  • November 2019 - The Initial Mental Health and Wellbeing Commission is established, undertaking some, but not all, of the functions of the permanent Commission
  • December 2019 - PSA makes a submission on the Mental Health and Wellbeing Commission Bill
  • August 2020 - The Cabinet Social Wellbeing Committee agreed to make amendments to the Mental Health (Compulsory Assessment and Treatment) Act 1992 (the Mental Health Act) as an initial step to fully repealing and replacing the Act
  • September 2020 - Revised guidelines to the Mental Health Act released
  • February 2021 - Mental Health and Wellbeing Commission opens 
  • May 2021 - PSA makes a submission on the Mental Health (Compulsory Assessment and Treatment) Amendment Bill

Campaigning for an inquiry

The January 2018 announcement of an Inquiry into Mental Health and Addiction reflected the success of PSA members campaigning in 2017, signaling to the rest of New Zealand that the Government recognized a need for change in mental health and addiction services.

Following the announcement, the PSA continued to advocate for the voice of members working in mental health and addiction services, including making a submission during the formal submission phase in 2018.

The 30 November release of He Ara Oranga - Report of the Government Inquiry into Mental Health and Addiction at the end of 2018 strongly reflected the need for a reset of New Zealand’s mental health and addiction services, detailing 40 recommendations covering 12 broad areas. 

Regional forums revealed a workforce in crisis

After holding a round of regional forums across the country in January 2019,  strong feedback from PSA members identified that the report was too light on the fundamental need to support a robust mental health and addiction workforce, especially when taking into consideration the current MH&A workforce crisis.

The PSA presented a formal Response to the MHAI Recommendations to the Ministry of Health’s Deputy Director General for Mental Health and Addiction, Robyn Shearer,  to ensure concerns about addressing workforce issues and needs were heard loud and clear.

What did the Inquiry set out to achieve?

The independent Inquiry panel stated it wanted to "generate hope" and set a clear direction that Government, the mental health and addiction sectors and the broader community can pick up and implement to improve New Zealand’s approach to mental health and well-being for the next five to ten years. 

The Inquiry reported its findings and opinions to the Minister of Health on 30 November 2018, making a series of 40 recommendations to improve the structure of public services that treat mental health and addiction, looking beyond the health sector and including discussion of the complex causes of mental health and addiction problems. 

Next Steps

The PSA is now continuing to engage with members on the implementation of recommendations.

Together, we as a committee: 

  • Negotiate better pay and working conditions with our employers, so we can have a better working life; 
  • Work with employers to create high performing services and good outcomes for service users; 
  • Advocate for the issues that matter to mental health workers, including health and safety, staffing ratios and better facilities and treatment for clients; 
  • Make sure the Minister and opposition spokespeople understand our issues through regular meetings and communication

Our strategic goals

  1. Ensure the PSA is the union of choice for the mental health & addictions sector
  2. A better, safer and fairer mental health service for members working in the CPS/DHB/PS
  3. Build and maintain strong relationships between members as well as allies in the wider community and Government
  4. Support industrial initiatives and campaigns across the mental health & addictions sector

Read the Mental Health and Addictions Committee Strategic Plan 2018 - 2022

 


Latest media releases from the PSA. Government response to mental health and addiction inquiry brings hope
Media Releases

Government response to mental health and addiction inquiry brings hope

The PSA has welcomed the long awaited Government response to ‘He Ara Oranga - Government Inquiry into Mental Health and Addiction’ coupled with the ‘Budget 2019: Mental Health, Wellbeing and Addiction initiatives’ as an encouraging approach to transforming New Zealand’s mental health and addiction...

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Latest media releases from the PSA. Workforce needs highlighted by PSA Mental Health & Addiction Committee
Media Releases

Workforce needs highlighted by PSA Mental Health & Addiction Committee

Members of the PSA Mental Health & Addiction Committee from around New Zealand have been meeting in Wellington today to review PSA members’ feedback about recommendations for change in the Mental Health and Addiction Inquiry report delivered to Government in November.

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Media Releases

Rise in suicide figures reaffirms need for system-wide change

The Government must act quickly and decisively to address New Zealand’s growing suicide crisis, the PSA says.

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Workers must be consulted in changes to Wellington region home support

Stability and certainty for home care workers and their clients must be central to any decisions made around service providers in the Wellington region, the PSA and E tū unions say.

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Media Releases

Life-changing mental health and addictions settlement rights a former wrong

Around 5000 mental health and addiction support workers will be paid what they are worth, after the ground-breaking care and support settlement was extended to cover them.

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Media Releases

Worth the wait - mental health and addiction support workers get equal pay

Mental health and addiction support workers have been rewarded for their patience - with their long fight for equal pay finally over.

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