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International Expert’s Mission To Increase Life Expectancy

International Expert’s Mission To Increase Life Expectancy For People With Mental Illness

People with a serious mental illness have a shorter life expectancy than people who don’t. Ken Jue, an international expert on physical and mental health from America is in New Plymouth this week to talk to the health workforce about how they can improve life expectancy and quality of life for people with a mental illness by working more closely together.

New Zealand’s mortality rates for people with a serious mental illness are better than a lot of other countries but more can be done to address this issue.

Mr Jue will be in New Plymouth on 1 March to discuss his award-winning programme, inSHAPE

He is one of 300 world leaders from seven countries meeting in New Zealand to share best practice ideas for improving mental health and disability services as part of the International Initiative for Mental Health Leadership (IIMHL).

Mr Jue is an international expert on physical and mental health with more than 34 years’ experience. He started his career in community mental health and today consults to businesses, governments, and the health and human services sectors internationally, including in New Zealand, the United Kingdom, America, Singapore and Malaysia.

His InSHAPE programme focuses on the integration of health, nutrition, physical fitness and mental health services guided by the principles of community engagement, social inclusion and personal recovery. The programme is being replicated in agencies in five states across America, and is being researched to understand its long-term effects.

“We have a moral obligation to address both physical and mental health needs for anyone accessing services”, said Mr Jue.

Robyn Shearer, chief executive of Te Pou, a New Zealand agency dedicated to developing the mental health and disability workforce said this was a unique opportunity to hear first-hand from a highly-sought expert who has worked hard to address the crisis of a shorter life-span for people with a serious mental illness.

“We are very interested to learn how this programme is assisting people’s recovery from mental illness and to understand what else we can do or find new ways to improve the overall health of people experiencing mental illness in New Zealand.

“While we have come a long way all of us working in the mental health and disability sector agree there is still a lot to be done. Exchanges such as the IIMHL are where many game-changing ideas are shared and created to ensure that we are continually improving services and care.”

Anyone interested in attending Mr Jue’s presentation should contact Tamsin Webb to register their interest.



The International Initiative for Mental Health Leadership (IIMHL) is a government to government funded initiative, which has seven member countries. New Zealand is one of the three founding member countries.

The aim of IIMHL is to coordinate learning exchanges between mental health and addiction leaders from member countries.

More than 300 leaders from the mental health and disability sectors in eight countries meet next week to share innovations and best practice to improve the services for people using mental health or disability services.


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