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Government receives official report into mental health and addiction in New Zealand

29 November 2018

Posted in: Pacific Radio News,

The mental health inquiry panel has officially handed over its report to Government, after 10 months of consultations with New Zealand communities.

The Inquiry panel members handing over the official report on mental health and addictions in New Zealand to Health Minister David Clark. Photo/ Mark Tantrum.

The Inquiry into mental health and addictions began in April and has had over 5,200 submissions. 

Youth leader Josiah Tualamali'i and academic Dr Jemaima Tiatia-Seath were on the six-member panel who led the inquiry.

Tualamali'i says it was tough hearing some of the mental health stories and struggles New Zealanders were dealing with.

"As a Pacific person, I see the needs that we have and I've been unhappy. We're valuable contributors to New Zealand society and at times it seems New Zealand hasn't been the land of milk and honey that our parents and others have promised, an important part of that is mental well-being."

"At times our community hasn't been able to achieve successful mental well-being... People told us a lot about the pain from losing someone to suicide or to methamphetamine and alcohol. They also talked a lot about the challenges in prisons, hospitals and other spaces."

"This is a really important moment in New Zealand's history where we've taken stock of where we are so that we can provide a new direction that the government and community can pick up."

Panel members with Minister of Health David Clark (centre). Photo/ Mark Tantrum.

Tualamali'i says as a young Samoan he was focused on making sure Pacific and youth voices were heard and honoured.

"We've been able to listen, we've been able to think, we've been able to understand and with all the different parameters we've had, people's voices have been honoured."

"There's a separate Pacific report and a Māori report and other kinds of documents which goes alongside the main report... There's so much richness that we've learnt from the community."

The report He Ara Oranga will be made public after a period of deliberation by Government.

"It's been very hard. We've gone home at night and the pain that we've been listening to, it doesn't leave you it sits with us. We say thank you so much to the people who took the time to come out in these public meetings. Sometimes it was cold and some days it was very hard to share in these big public meetings or to write to us," says Tualamali'i.

"I'm excited by this report... we're excited for the future and we think this will help a lot."

Tags: health,