Sunday, July 14, 2024

Minister announces new mental health targets

Minister for Mental Health, Matt Doocey, has today announced five new mental health and addiction targets for New Zealand.

“The targets reflect my priorities to increase access to mental health and addiction support, grow the mental health and addiction workforce, strengthen the focus on prevention and early intervention and improve the effectiveness of mental health and addiction support,” said Minister Doocey (pictured at today’s announcement). 

He said the targets will drive: 

  • Faster access to specialist mental health and addiction services: target of 80 percent of people accessing specialist mental health and addiction services are seen within three weeks 
  • Faster access to primary mental health and addiction services: target of 80 percent of people accessing primary mental health and addiction services through the Access and Choice programme* are seen within one week 
  • Shorter mental health and addiction-related stays in emergency departments: target of95 percent of mental health and addiction-related emergency department presentations are admitted, discharged, or transferred from an emergency department within six hours 
  • Increased mental health and addiction workforce development: target of training 500 mental health and addiction professionals each year 
  • Strengthened focus on prevention and early intervention: target of 25 percent of mental health and addiction investment is allocated towards prevention and early intervention 

“I believe that by setting ambitious targets, we will generate better outcomes, and this government is outcomes focused.”

“I am aware we will not fix everything overnight, but these targets will help lift the focus on mental health and addiction and – more importantly – result in an improvement to the mental wellbeing of many New Zealanders. 

“Timely access to services is crucial to support people’s recovery, help them to live well, and prevent deterioration in their mental health and overall quality of life. 

“While I am focused on improving the performance of our existing services, I will also look to grow and develop new mental health and addiction workforces. This will be supported by existing dedicated investment in mental health and addiction workforce development.  

“Achieving better mental health outcomes for New Zealanders will have this government’s relentless attention.”

The Minister also today announced the first round of the Government’s $10 million Mental Health and Addiction Community Sector Innovation Fund is set to open for applications later this month.

“The Fund will support new and innovative initiatives that are focussed on increasing access to better mental health support, a top priority for me as New Zealand’s first Mental Health Minister,” he said.

“Government does not have all the solutions when it comes to addressing mental health issues. That’s why we have previously announced funding for Gumboot Friday of $24 million over four years to provide young people aged between 5 and 25 years with free mental health counselling services.  

“I’m firmly of the view that the answers to the issues we have in mental health are already in the sector but just need the opportunity to be backed. I’ve listened to the innovative ideas and the people behind those ideas and this has resulted in the development of this Fund.”

He said successful proposals will need to demonstrate that they can address the following key priorities: 

  • Increases access to mental health and addiction support  
  • Protects public specialist mental health and addiction services by reducing demand 
  • Develops capacity in the mental health and addiction workforce 
  • Uses technology to drive productivity 
  • Delivers scalable solutions for unmet need 
  • Returns positive social return on investment (with evidence) 
  • Achieves positive outcomes for target population groups that have evidence of poorer mental health outcomes than other groups 
  • Will be co-funded on a dollar-for-dollar matched funding basis  

The Fund will support the government’s priority focus on increasing access to mental health and addiction support, growing the mental health and addiction workforce, strengthening the focus on prevention and early intervention, and improving the effectiveness of mental health and addiction support.  

The Fund will be open to all NGOs and community mental health and addiction providers, including iwi-based and other Kaupapa Māori providers.  

The full submission criteria, and a Request for Proposal (RFP) process will be published on the Government Electronic Tender Service (GETS) website by the end of July, with contracts for round one expected to be in place later this year.   

Depending on the amount of funding allocated through the initial round in July, a second funding round may be announced later this year. 

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