Expanding primary mental health and addiction support

The Ministry of Health is working to expand New Zealanders’ access to and choice of primary mental health and addiction services.

This initiative will be rolled out over five years, so that anyone can access free mental health and addiction support when and where they need it.

We’re aiming for consistent support for people across the country, while also making sure the needs of local communities are reflected in the services provided.

We are working to:

  • sustain and expand existing primary services and pilots, including integrated general practices
  • expand the diverse mental health and addiction workforce and while also providing ongoing support to those who already work in these services
  • collaboratively design support services with people with lived experience, Māori, Pacific peoples, young people, rainbow communities and rural communities.

Over time, more support will be available across a range of settings, including general practices, kaupapa Māori, Pacific, community and youth settings.

Read more about what is happening for Kaupapa Māori.

Investing in primary mental health and addiction support

Initial investments under this initiative focus on sustaining and expanding two existing mental health and addiction services.

In September 2019, funding was confirmed for the integrated general practices pilot, spanning 22 general practices in Northland, Waitemata, Auckland, Counties Manukau, Lakes, Capital and Coast and Canterbury district health board regions.  People visiting these general practices can continue to get support from mental health workers or be connected to other providers as needed.

Funding was also confirmed for Tu Kuwatawata, a kaupapa Māori provider, in Tairāwhiti. This service offers support for tāngata whairoa (people seeking wellbeing) and their whānau experiencing distress. It is ground in mātauranga Māori and takes a holistic approach to a person’s mental health and wellbeing.

The Ministry of Health will release a Request for Proposals (RFP) soon for other providers who would like to apply for funding. Information on this process will be made available on the Government Electronic Tender Service (GETS).

Talking with people across New Zealand

Pacific primary mental health and addiction services

During November and December 2019, we hosted a series of Pacific fono / focus groups to begin collaborating on co-designing the expansion of primary mental health and addiction support that works for Pacific people and their communities.

The Ministry has summarised the key themes and all feedback received, and we thank all of the attendees at the fono for your valuable contributions.

To complement the key themes, a report was written focused on the core elements of Pacific primary mental health and addiction services from an external Pasifika lens by Niu Mindworks Ltd.

Both the feedback from the fono and the Core elements report have been used to inform the current Pacific RFP (closes on 31 July 2020.

Expanding access to, and choice of, primary and community mental health and addiction services

In July and August 2019, we held regional workshops with the mental health and addiction sector, and people with lived experience, to outline our vision for expanding primary mental health and addiction support.

View a summary of the key themes from the workshops:

At the workshops, we received strong feedback and encouragement that the needs of people with lived experience and their whānau must continue to stay at the centre of this initiative. Following this, we held a dedicated National Lived Experience Hui in August 2019, bringing together people from around the country to begin a closer working relationship with the Ministry of Health.

Keep up-to-date with our progress - subscribe to our regular Mental Health and Addiction updates.

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