The Government is establishing an independent Mental Health and Wellbeing Commission as part of its response to He Ara Oranga: Report of the Government Inquiry into Mental Health and Addiction (He Ara Oranga).
The Commission provides system-level oversight of mental health and wellbeing in New Zealand and hold the government of the day and other decision makers to account for the mental health and wellbeing of people in New Zealand.
The Commission’s objective, functions and powers are set out in the Mental Health and Wellbeing Commission Act 2020, which establishes the Commission as an independent Crown entity to contribute to better and equitable mental health and wellbeing for people in New Zealand. The Commission’s functions include:
- assessing and reporting publicly on the mental health and wellbeing of people in New Zealand;
- making recommendations to improve the effectiveness, efficiency, and adequacy of approaches to mental health and wellbeing;
- promoting alignment, collaboration, and communication between entities involved in mental health and wellbeing;
- monitoring mental health services and addiction services and advocating improvements to those services;
- advocating for the collective interests of people who experience mental distress or addiction, and the persons (including family and whānau) who support them.
The Commission must have particular regard to the experience of, and outcomes for, Māori when performing its functions. It must also maintain systems and processes to ensure that it has the capability and capacity to uphold the Treaty of Waitangi (Te Tiriti o Waitangi) and its principles and to engage with Māori and to understand perspectives of Māori.
The Commission will not investigate individual complaints about mental health and addiction services, which will continue to be considered by the Health and Disability Commissioner.
Initial Mental Health and Wellbeing Commission
While the Commission was being established, the Initial Mental Health and Wellbeing Commission undertook some, but not all, of the functions of the permanent Commission. The Initial Commission was been established under section 11 of the New Zealand Public Health and Disability Act 2000.
The Initial Commission operated from November 2019 until 9 February 2021 when the permanent Commission was launched. For more information about the work of the Initial Commission, please visit Mental Health and Wellbeing Commission website