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Strong Support for New Mental Health Strategy

30 June 2005

Strong Support for New Mental Health Strategy

Richmond Fellowship, the national provider of support services, says the Government’s new 10-year plan for mental health is an excellent blueprint that will encourage services to be more accessible and innovative.

Te Tâhuhu: Improving Mental Health is New Zealand’s second mental health and addiction plan, outlining Government policy and priorities for mental health to 2015 and providing direction for investment in services.

It describes ten leading challenges, including promotion of mental health and prevention of illness; building mental health services, including more services for children and young people; broadening the choice of services; improving responsiveness; workforce development; strengthening the primary health sector, and improving availability to addiction services.

Richmond Fellowship’s chief executive, Dr Gerry Walmisley, says Te Tâhuhu signals a new era in mental health services, building on the current Mental Health Strategy contained in Looking Forward (1994) and the Mental Health Commission’s Blueprint for Mental Health Services (1998).

“This is a document which reflects an extremely thorough consultation process and answers the call for a more strategic and over-arching plan,” says Dr Walmisley.

“We can be especially heartened by the focus on partnerships between the DHBs and non-governmental organisations, and the acknowledgement given to the community based services being delivered by the Third Sector “Under the previous strategic plan we have seen a dramatic improvement in access to services and a willingness for the funding agencies, particularly the DHBs, to seek innovative services designed for the specific needs of individuals.

“Te Tâhuhu means the ridgepole that provides essential support, and I’m confident that this strategic document will provide the intended support. “Importantly, there is a renewed commitment to trust and transparency, which is essential for agencies and individuasl to work together on solutions to problems that affect one in five New Zealanders.”

The next step is for the development of an Action Plan to implement Te Tâhuhu. The Ministry of Health and DHBs are expected to develop an agreed action jointly, working with sector stakeholder representatives, and report to Cabinet by March 2006.

About Richmond Fellowship Richmond Fellowship is a major provider of community health and support services throughout New Zealand. The Fellowship has developed specialist services for a range of purchasers including the Ministry of Health, Crown Public Health, Child Youth and Family Service and District Health Boards. Services include support programmes for people with mental, psychiatric or psychological illness, respite and emergency support, consumer based drop-in services, specialist youth services and dual diagnosis services (including intellectual disability/mental illness).


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