In­quiry into men­tal health to Min­is­ter

Manawatu Guardian - - NEWS -

A 10-month Govern­ment in­quiry into men­tal health and ad­dic­tion was last week handed to the Min­is­ter of Health.

He Ara Oranga panel was led by chair Pro­fes­sor Ron Pater­son with Sir Ma­son Durie, Dr Bar­bara Dis­ley, Dean Rangi­huna, Dr Je­maima Ti­a­tia-Seath and Josiah Tuala­mali’i.

The con­sul­ta­tion, launched in Palmer­ston North in April, led to over 5200 sub­mis­sions. The panel trav­elled around New Zealand meet­ing with and lis­ten­ing to peo­ple at 26 pub­lic fo­rums from Kaitaia to In­ver­cargill and at hun­dreds of meet­ings.

They heard from peo­ple with ex­pe­ri­ence, wha¯ nau, ser­vice providers, com­mu­nity groups and all the pop­u­la­tion groups that in­cluded tan­gata whenua and peo­ple from the Pa­cific.

Pro­fes­sor Pater­son said the peo­ple they heard from gave the panel a clear sense of what’s work­ing and what’s not work­ing in men­tal health and ad­dic­tion in Aotearoa and how to im­prove well­be­ing in r com­mu­ni­ties.

He­said it was an hon­our and priv­i­lege to un­der­take this in­quiry.

“We recog­nise it as a once in a gen­er­a­tion op­por­tu­nity, and are grate­ful to all the peo­ple who shared their ex­pe­ri­ences and wis­dom with us, in meet­ings and sub­mis­sions.”

Pro­fes­sor Pater­son said the panel was con­fi­dent their re­port re­flected the voices they heard, which set a clear di­rec­tion for the fu­ture path­ways to well­ness that govern­ment, the sec­tor and com­mu­ni­ties can pick up and im­ple­ment.

The panel also talked with prison in­mates, which they said was “hugely im­por­tant” for the In­quiry. The panel vis­ited Auck­land Prison, Auck­land Women’s Re­gional Cor­rec­tional Fa­cil­ity (moth­ers and ba­bies unit), Aro­hata Women’s Prison, Rimu­taka Prison and Christchurch Men’s Prison Youth unit which pro­vided a unique per­spec­tive on the chal­lenges for youth and their well­be­ing.

At each of the pris­ons panel mem­bers talked with staff and in­mates, in­clud­ing talk­ing with par­tic­i­pants in pro­grammes like the al­co­hol and drug treat­ment pro­grammes. The In­quiry also re­ceived sub­mis­sions from in­mates and pro­vided a freep­hone num­ber for them to sub­mit and they could also post in sub­mis­sions.

He Ara Oranga is now in the hands of the Govern­ment, which will re­lease it pub­licly af­ter a pe­riod of de­lib­er­a­tion. It will be made avail­able on the web­site www.men­tal­health.in­quiry.govt.nz/ in var­i­ous for­mats.

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