Mental health work at the Ministry

The Ministry provides mental health policy advice to the Minister of Health. It is responsible for implementation of government policy through collaborative efforts with district health boards, and for the administration of mental health legislation.

Budget 2019

Budget 2019 has a major focus on new mental health, wellbeing and addiction initiatives. To find out more see Budget 2019: Mental health, wellbeing and addiction initiatives.

The Ministry of Health welcomes the Government’s formal response to He Ara Oranga, the report of the independent Inquiry into Mental Health and Addiction.

We have a stewardship role to transform New Zealand’s mental health and addiction system into one that puts people at the centre.

We are leading work on a number of the report’s recommendations.

Management of the legislative environment

The Ministry also focuses on advice to government on, and administration of, the legislative environment in which mental health services operate and which affects people with experience of mental illness and addiction and their whānau, friends and communities.

Its work seeks to ensure protection of both human rights and safety of individuals and communities, and to achieve balance where different rights appear to be in conflict.

Recovery approach to mental illness

About 47% of New Zealanders will experience a mental illness and/or an addiction at some time in their lives, with one in five people affected within one year. The impact on the individual and their family will vary from person to person, and may be extensive.

Mental distress and mental illness can be challenging for those experiencing it, as well as for those who are supporting them. There are a wide range of supports and treatments available to help through this period, and recovery from this distress is possible. The Ministry of Health supports a 'recovery' approach to mental distress and mental illness, which means working towards supporting an individual in a way which minimises the level of distress and impact on their day-to-day lives as much as possible.

For most people, mental illness is usually ‘episodal’, in nature and a good recovery is made, in a timeframe that varies from person to person. The Ministry believes that people who have experience of mental illness and/or addictions should be able to make informed decisions that promote their mental health and wellbeing. This means that all mental health service providers must operate their services in ways that assist recovery for service users.

Like Minds, Like Mine project

The stigma and discrimination associated with mental illness can be a major barrier to a person’s recovery. Therefore, in 1997, the Ministry of Health initiated the Like Minds, Like Mine project to reduce the stigma of mental illness and discrimination experienced by people with mental illness.

The project’s vision is to create a nation that values and includes people with experience of mental illness. It funds a range of activities, at both a national and local level, aimed at improving attitudes and behaviour of individuals, groups and organisations towards people with experience of mental illness. For further information about the project, go to the Like Minds, Like Mine website.

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