Monday, May 27, 2024

Making progress on Māori mental health and addiction response

A new report has found the Government’s approach of using frontline service providers to address inequities for Māori with mental health and addiction needs is making good progress in many communities.

An independent evaluation into the Māori Access and Choice programme, commissioned by Te Whatu Ora has highlighted the programme’s success at improving equity for tāngata whai ora.

The report examined the ways the Government is working with providers, such as through bespoke procurement processes such as video submissions using te reo Maori and tikanga, and giving smaller (tēina) providers a chance to apply for funding who otherwise would have missed out.

“Through this programme, almost 53,000 sessions have been delivered, and more than 4,000 people were seen in December alone. Many of these service simply didn’t exist before this Government’s Wellbeing Budget in 2019,” Associate Health Minister, Peeni Henare said today.

At a visit to tēina provider Whakaoranga Whānau Recovery Hub in Kaikohe today, the Minister heard how much of a genuine difference they are making in the lives of many who experience mental health and addiction issues.

“There are whānau here today who are being supported to improve their mental health and addiction issues who wouldn’t have otherwise had access to this kind of help” he said.

“But, if the approach for funding and procuring these services had not been so innovative and tailored to suit tēina providers such as this one, the service may have never got off the ground.”

The independent evaluation also pointed to dedication of the kaupapa Māori primary mental health and addiction workforce.

“I’m proud of this Government’s commitment to kaupapa Māori primary mental health and addiction services, in this region and many others. Had we not invested in this way, we would not have been set up to pivot and respond to mental wellbeing issues in smaller communities arising from Cyclone Gabrielle and the other recent severe weather events,” Mr Henare said.

“We know that after a disaster there can be huge wellbeing impacts on our communities. We saw it in Christchurch.

“This Government set out to set up a whole new mental health system and we are achieving more and more within this new system every day. This evaluation and seeing the success of providers like Whakaoranga Whānau Recovery Hub show us that we are making progress.

“But we know there is much more to do. We are committed to making access better to mental health and addiction services right across Aotearoa.”

The interim evaluation report of kaupapa Māori Access and Choice services will be released on the Access and Choice website: www.wellbeingsupport.health.nz.

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