New mental health care initiatives

Advice has been provided to the Government on the mental health initiatives announced last year.

As part of Budget 2017, the previous government established a $100 million cross-agency contingency to trial new approaches to improving mental health, while also helping to build an evidence base of ‘what works’.

This funding was not appropriated but the government indicated that it would be allocated across 17 time-limited initiatives representing a mix of trials, service enhancement and service expansion across a range of settings.

The contingency will be used, in part, to fund the Government’s mental health support initiative for primary and intermediate schools totalling $28 million over three years. (Read the news release: Improving mental health services for children in Canterbury and Kaikōura, 22.02.18.)

The Government has asked for advice on the remainder of the contingency and the nature and current state of each of the 17 initiatives to inform planning for Budget 2018.


Overview of proposed strategic framework for mental health

Drivers of change:
  • Shared responsibility
  • Social investment approach
  • Grounded in the life course
Targeted effort:
1. Promote mental wellbeing and prevent mental disorders
  • Intervening early in the life-course to reduce future demand
  • Targeting risk factors and key transition points in life
  • Universal approaches to building resilience and addressing stigma.
2. Effectively identify and respond to the needs of people with mental disorders
  • Needs are identified and support provided early in an illness
  • Responses are people/whānau centred, holistic and culturally appropriate and address gaps
  • New and innovative responses are co-designed, making use of new technology and multiple workforces
Areas for focus:
1. Supporting the developmental needs of children and young people
2. Transforming delivery to address service gaps
3. Providing holisitic responses to people/whānau with multiple or complex needs
Individual/whānau outcomes
  • People are better able to deal with setbacks
  • Fewer people need mental health services
  • People with mental health disorders get appropriate support as early as possible
  • People with mental disorders live fulfilling lives, contributing to society
  • Fewer deaths by suicide and incidents of self-harm
System/Government outcomes
  • Less pressure on the health, social and justice systems
  • Lower costs to government and communities
  • Improved social, justice and economic outcomes
  • More equitable mental health outcomes


  • Investing in workforces – building capacity, capability and new ways of working
  • People/ whānau centred – culturally responsive service design and delivery
  • Data, research and analytics – to enable a social investment approach
  • Social and cultural capital – including the use of mātauranga Māori
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