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NZ Maori Council releases its recommendations into suicide prevention and mental health: Its time th

NZ Maori Council releases its recommendations into suicide prevention and mental health: Its time the Government got on with it ….

The New Zealand Maori Council has called on the Government to fundamentally reform the way mental health and suicide is dealt with. Matthew Tukaki, Councils Executive Director and Chair of the National Maori Authority has released a series of recommendations into the public domain to set the scene for a way forward. Tukaki has been a member of the Board of Suicide Prevention Australia and its Chair since 2011 and Chair of the National Coalition for Suicide Prevention:

“The harsh reality is we have lost a lot of time waiting for something to happen both after the Government was elected, after the report of the Mental Health and Addictions Inquiry was released and now in anticipation of the budget. During that waiting period many more New Zealanders have taken their lives or attempted suicide. That is why, without delay, we are releasing our recommendations and way forward.” Tukaki Said

Tukaki has said the Government needs to stop mucking around and get on with the job – and that includes the way services are developed, delivered and measured.

“In order to achieve change we need to have a hard conversation about reform of the system and that is no overnight conversation but is one that we could have begun 18 months ago. So; what are we suggesting? Well there are fifteen recommendations:

Hapori Tahi – One Community: investing in a single national strategy for Maori

  1. A ten-year roadmap towards a reduction in the rates of suicide underpinned by the above eight points / this would include program development, reform and change, design and delivery, health promotion and so on. It would be the roadmap to change – this would include targeted policies for:

  • Maori men / middle years

  • Rangatahi Maori

  • Youth

  • Women in their latter years

  • Middle aged white males between 35 – 55

  • Rural and regional communities

  • Workplace

  • Employment / Unemployed

A National Mental Health Commission and legislative reform

  1. The establishment of the Mental Health Commission to oversee the co-ordination of the Governments response to the recommendations of the mental health and addictions inquiry. In addition, the role of the Commissioner will be preparing drafting for the changes need to the Mental Health Act including the separation of the role and duties of the Director of Mental Health to create a higher degree of independence, governance and oversight. There would be two Commissioners, one Maori (to continue the community engagement and development piece).

A Single National Commissioning Agency

  1. A single national commissioning agency to coordinate funding and evaluation of services being delivered in both suicide prevention and mental health – this could be attached to the Mental Health Commission

A National Hub for Suicide Prevention and Mental Health Program Evaluation

  1. Establish a national hub for suicide prevention and mental health program evaluation. This would create a greater degree of consistency when it comes to how programs are being evaluated and assessed; the model would follow the Australian “Hub” model and including the ability for programs to be mentored if they didn’t quite make the first round. This would provide Government agencies and departments, health authorities and so on to introduce the programs with more confidence.

A National Suicide Prevention and Mental Health Research Fund

  1. Establish a National Suicide Prevention and Mental Health research fund – investing in research will enable us to interpret the data in a much more coordinated way, identify innovations occurring in programs and service delivery as well as further design and deliver programs for purpose for either demographic or geographic groupings

A National Co-Design Team

  1. Establish a national co-design team within the Ministry of Health to work with Maori and highly impacted groups when it comes to service delivery models

The Introduction of a Zero Suicide Approach in the Hospital System

  1. Introduce trials sites in Auckland, Christchurch, Northland, the Bay of Plenty and Gisborne for “zero suicide” in hospitals and health systems – this could use the same evidence-based framework underway in the States of Queensland and Western Australia as well as several sites in the United States.

The Development of Additional Health Promotion Campaigns in Te Reo and English

  1. Shift specific focus for national health promotion campaigns related to both suicide prevention and mental health amongst target groups such as youth, Maori (rangatahi and middle years), women in their latter years and middle-aged white males.

Further building and investing in teacher training skills and school resources

  1. Build and develop teacher and school specific resources for suicide prevention and mental health in line with the eSafety framework, bullying and cyber bullying etc.

A National Workforce Plan

  1. Develop a national workforce plan for both allied and non-allied staff; the building of a mental health workforce to meet demand and specific workforce development and capacity building for high impact groups such as Maori.

Investing in Addiction Rehabilitation

  1. Investing in the building of five new rehabilitation centers (three north and two south-island) to be directly funded by Government or through an increase in the alcohol and cigarette levies / taxes targeting people with high rates of addiction to move them back into well being

Investing in Youth Space Centres

  1. Investing in the establishment of “youth space” centers across the country similar to the “head space” programs targeting young people with mental health challenges / outreach and well-being

Investing in the Mens Shed Networks

  1. Investing in a new national program to further build the mens shed networks targeting males between the ages of 45 and 75

Investing in Work Place Care Programs

  1. Investing in the development of a workplace strategy providing roving counselling services and pastoral care services directly in the work place. A program that would be required for all Government Departments and opt in with financial support for business and industry

Bringing Down the Silos

  1. Establish an interagency taskforce headed by the Mental Health Commissioner to better co-ordinate programs, services and funding across the public sector


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