This submission document sets out the Ministry’s advice on developing a cohesive mental health, addiction and suicide prevention approach for Aotearoa, New Zealand. The key points are:

  1. Improving existing mental health and addiction services, and making them accessible and suitable for all, is important, but not enough.
  2. In order to enable people and their whānau to thrive wherever they live and whatever their circumstances, we need to transform our approach to mental health and addiction.
  3. There is a currently significant inequity in health and social outcomes, prevalence of mental health and addiction disorders, and service experience.
  4. The Ministry of Health can lead the health service response, provide national guidance to enable change, lead improvements in health policy, commissioning, workforce development and service provision (specialist, primary and community) and promote positive mental health and wellbeing through incorporating mental health promotion into our decision making.
  5. A broader approach is needed across whānau, iwi, hapū, communities, social networks and agencies and across government. All government agencies must take, and be formally accountable for, action to improve mental wellbeing.
  6. A reformed Mental Health Commission is well placed to be an expert advisor and a transparent independent monitor and facilitator of the necessary cross-agency work.