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Maori Mental Health Workforce Plan

9 February 2006

Maori will make up 20 per cent of the national dedicated mental health and primary health care workforces by 2011, under a new workforce development plan, Health Minister Pete Hodgson said today.

Kia Puawai Te Ararau, the Maori Mental Health Workforce Development Strategic Plan 2005-2010 ? details the sector's plans to achieve this benchmark.

"Implementation of the plan will make valuable contributions to achieving the vision for Maori mental health workforce development, and will benefit Maori in the short, medium and long term," Pete Hodgson said.

Speaking at the second annual Te Rau Tipu Maori Child and Adolescent Mental Health Workforce Conference in Palmerston North, Pete Hodgson said our Maori children and youth are particularly at risk of mental health issues with Maori being disproportionately represented in mental health and addictions services.

"There is considerable demand on the child and youth mental health workforce. According to international research, one in five children and young people suffer from some form of mental illness.

"We also know that in order to provide good services for Maori we need a well trained and supported Maori workforce. Maori children and youth under 20 years of age make up 23 per cent of our population, and by 2021 this figure may be 27 percent.

"It's important we treat problems when they occur amongst our children and youth because left unresolved, they may worsen in adult life."

Te Rau Tipu Maori Child and Adolescent Mental Health Workforce Conference has attracted around 300 sector workers in Palmerston North this week, providing an opportunity for those Maori and non-Maori in the workforce to network, share best practice models and learn of local, regional and national innovations.


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