Time running out for participation in Mental Health and Addiction Inquiry

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The Public Service Association (PSA) is urging all New Zealanders to send written submissions to the Mental Health and Addiction Inquiry before the set closing date of Tuesday 5 June - less than two weeks from today.

"The PSA’s growing concern with each passing week is that the opportunities to participate in this hard-won Inquiry need to be as widely publicised as possible," says Erin Polaczuk, PSA National Secretary.

"This is a precious time to speak up and be heard about ways to improve and transform mental health and addiction outcomes across New Zealand, and we can’t let this opportunity be wasted.

"Speaking as the largest union for mental health workers in both the DHB and community sectors our greatest concern is to ensure those workers are able to have worker-only, safe, honest face-to-face time with the panel in order to deliver an accurate picture of current realities," says Ms Polaczuk.

"It is telling that the public meetings held around the country since 27 April by the Inquiry panel are only just beginning to scratch the surface of a discussion on mental health and addiction that is deep, painful for many and long overdue.

"The stories that are surfacing are a testimony, if that was needed, to the trauma and healing that surround the daily efforts of everyone concerned in all aspects of mental health and addiction to save, recover and enhance lives.

"The PSA’s submission will be drawing directly on views of PSA members about what’s working well and what could be done better, and our Mental Health Committee will then speak directly to panel members about the submission in July," says Ms Polaczuk.

"To move towards vitally needed, real change for mental health and addiction services we need this Inquiry’s recommendations to be informed by the widest possible range of submissions and to be able to be picked up and implemented almost immediately later this year".

Online submissions to the Mental Health and Addiction Inquiry can be made at www.mentalhealth.inquiry.govt.nz/consultation-document/have-your-say/ and the PSA campaign page address is www.psa.org.nz/media/campaigns/mental-health-inquiry/