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Peter Dunne: Like Minds Like Mine Provider Seminar

Hon Peter Dunne
Associate Minister of Health

29 May 2014

Like Minds Like Mine Provider Seminar
Rendezvous Grand Hotel, Auckland
29 May 2014

Kia ora tātau. Good morning, and thank you for your warm welcome.

Passion, dedication, and innovation.

Those three words describe the individuals and organisations represented in this room today. As the Minister responsible for mental health and addiction, I am privileged to be in a position to see how much these qualities are exemplified in the mental health sector.

So I would like to thank you now for those qualities and all that you bring to your work every day – work that makes a huge difference to so many across New Zealand.

Context and Rising to the Challenge
New Zealand’s mental health services and programmes are in a period of growth and renewal.

Rising to the Challenge – an apt title for a document containing 100 separate actions – is a major recent catalyst for those changes, and seeks to bring all the disparate services and programmes into a more coherent, holistic system.

As is the way with these documents, a number of individual ‘actions’ are actually major projects in their own right and are made up of multiple other ‘actions’.The refresh of Like Minds, Like Mine is one of those actions, but first I would like to speak briefly about three others in particular.

They are:
• the Prime Minister’s Youth Mental Health Project
• the New Zealand Suicide Prevention Action Plan
• and the National Depression Initiative.

The Prime Minister’s Youth Mental Health Project
Too many of our young people are struggling with depression or anxiety. The Youth Mental Health Project was launched in 2012, and aims to bring the health sector, communities, schools and the online world together to create a more integrated web of support for those young people.

The 26 initiatives cover the different phases of support that a young person and their whānau may require – from better, more accessible information and raised mental health awareness in youth services, to early intervention in schools, and innovative, integrated and improved services.

Innovative online services are a crucial part of this, and the recent launch of the online SPARX e-therapy tool for young people is a big milestone for the Project.Work is progressing well, but it will also be evaluated to make sure that we are taking the right approach.

New Zealand Suicide Prevention Action Plan
A new Suicide Prevention Action Plan was launched in 2013. The 30 actions in it are designed to build on existing work, but with a particular emphasis on:

• assisting communities and frontline workers to identify and respond to suicidal behaviour
• reducing the impact of suicide on communities
• building the capacity of Māori and Pasifika communities to prevent suicide.

The experiences of communities that have responded to suicide are taken into account to ensure that we are learning as we go, and responding to change.

The National Depression Initiative
The National Depression Initiative is now entering its eighth year, and it has been very successful. However, changes in the way that people use technology and the need to ensure that the right population groups are being targeted make it critical that it continues to be updated.

The Ministry of Health and the Health Promotion Agency are working together to implement changes designed to improve the targeting, the attractiveness of the online services and their accessibility.

Like Minds, Like Mine
And now back to Like Minds. I would like to reiterate the value and importance of the services you have collectively delivered over a number of years. Like Minds holds a unique place among New Zealand’s mental health services and you have all worked hard towards reducing the stigma and discrimination associated with mental illnesses.

You have also been dedicated advocates for those with experience of mental illness. Over the last 16 years, Like Minds has led the way in making New Zealand a more inclusive society for everyone.

As with all programmes of this nature, it is important that we build on this success and ensure the direction of Like Minds is focussed and appropriate. Reinvigorated leadership, new priority audiences, and more flexible service options, together with a strong shared purpose, will lead the programme in an exciting new direction. The refresh of the Like Minds, Like Mine National Plan is part of the same context of evolution that other actions in Rising to the Challenge represent.

Innovation is nothing new to Like Minds – since 1997 it has gone through many transitions. The many awards that it has won are a testament to its success in managing that change.

As you all know so well, depression, anxiety and other mental health issues are not simply going to go away on their own. We need to keep working hard, to drive changes and to respond with care and kindness if we are going to continue to be successful in this difficult area.

Reinvigorated leadership, new priority audiences, and more flexible service options, together with a strong shared purpose, will lead this programme in an exciting new direction. A backbone of research and evaluation will help guide future development and ensure that Like Minds remains robust and evidence-based as it reacts to the changing shape of other mental health services, and of New Zealand communities.

The new National Plan that you will see today has been largely informed by the comprehensive feedback that you and other members of the sector have provided during consultation. Over the last 16 years, Like Minds has led the way in making New Zealand a more inclusive society for everyone. The new Plan aims to create a structure that will better harness the power of your passion for and dedication to that task, and allow your innovation to show the way forward for the years to come.

I know there are exciting opportunities for you to consider and be involved in this refreshed direction and new National Plan. I also know that change can be challenging, but it is vital that we learn from the past and respond to our changing environment. It is important that not just we, but all New Zealanders, own this Plan. We need to all support the ongoing journey to ensure equality thrives in New Zealand.

Again, I would like to thank and congratulate you on all that you have achieved over the last 16 years. I look forward to seeing an increasingly inclusive New Zealand as we progress towards 2019.

ENDS

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