Mental Health and Addiction
09 Apr 2018
Let's Stand Together on Mental Health and Addiction
The PSA is New Zealand's largest trade union for mental health workers, with a long history of advocating for better mental health and addiction services.
Currently mental health and addiction services are in a crisis. We see this as the result of three key elements: an increased demand for mental health and addiction services; a significant shift in the delivery of mental health treatment away from institutionalization without resources following; and a funding shortfall in health generally and mental health specifically.
A Time for Change
The announcement of an Inquiry into Mental Health and Addiction in January 2018 reflected the success of the hard campaigning that PSA members collectively engaged in during 2017, and signaled to the rest of New Zealand that the Government recognizes 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.
A workforce in crisis
After holding a round of regional forums across the country, 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 PSA send to the Inquiry?
The PSA made a submission to the Inquiry, as did the PSA Youth network. You can download these from the PSA's Submissions page here.
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.
Under its Terms of Reference, the Inquiry reported its findings and opinions to the Minister of Health on 30 November 2018.
The report made 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.