Mental Health report presents opportunity for reset
The Public Service Association (PSA) has welcomed today’s release of the Report of the Government Inquiry into Mental Health and Addiction - He Ara Oranga, and the opportunities it presents for significantly resetting a system that the report concludes is "unsustainable in its current form".
The PSA and its Mental Health and Addiction Committee fully support the call for prompt and decisive action made in the report to implement major changes in current policies and laws, supported by significant increases in funding.
Committee convenor Andy Colwell: "As the report notes people have been waiting long enough for change, and the clock is now ticking for the Government to confirm its response by March next year - less than 3 months from now.
"It is important to note that this report puts a spotlight on escalating demand for specialist services, limited support for people in the community and difficulties recruiting and retaining staff. As the panel has concluded, this is a system that is under pressure - and I would add a system where staff safety is being put at risk every day.
"Implementing the report’s recommendations will depend on putting the workforce, the people who access services and the community at the heart of the implementation. To succeed workforce and PSA worker representation has to be factored in every step of the way, starting from today and from this point forward".
PSA national secretary Kerry Davies:"The PSA will be applying a critical eye to the recommendations and looking for those areas where our members can make a contribution to ensuring a real transformation and tangible co-design (page 117 of the report) takes place.
"In terms of funding we are pleased this report identifies a strong social and economic case for increased investment in mental health and addiction services, and that it talks about the need for a long-term funding path. This aligns well to the high expectations already set by Finance Minister Grant Robertson that mental health is being prioritised for the 2019 ‘Wellbeing’ Budget".
Note to journalists: PSA is the largest union in mental health and addictions, with members working as mental health nurses, alcohol and drug clinicians and counsellors, mental health assistants, peer support workers, occupational therapists, social workers, psychologists, community-based care and support workers and clerical and administration workers. We work in Community Public Services, Kaupapa Māori Services, DHBs and other government agencies such as Oranga Tamariki and Corrections. This provides a unique whole-of-service perspective.