Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | News Video | Crime | Employers | Housing | Immigration | Legal | Local Govt. | Maori | Welfare | Unions | Youth | Search

 

Action needed to help people with mental health issues: OECD

Action needed to help people with mental health issues in New Zealand, says OECD

New Zealand has carried out major health and welfare reforms over the past decade but needs to do more to help people with mental health issues stay in work or find a job, according to a new OECD report.

Mental Health and Work: New Zealand says that one in five New Zealanders in any given year will experience a diagnosable mental health issue. This adversely affects wellbeing and costs the New Zealand economy some NZD 12-15 billion every year, equivalent to around 4-5% of its annual GDP, through increased health care spending, lost labour productivity and sickness absence, and social spending on people out of work.

Reforms over the past decade have improved the situation but the system remains complex and fragmented, with numerous trials, pilots and experiments in place to fill some of the institutional gaps in dealing with mental health issues. Access to services and their impact varies widely across the country and across ethnicities. The poorer outcomes for some population groups, especially Māori people, point to an urgent need for mental-health-and-work policies to be culturally-led, informed and responsive.

The OECD report says that intervention in New Zealand tends to come too late and that the provision of integrated services which address health and employment barriers alongside remains incomplete. Where good supports exist, such as services for youth with mental health issues, the uptake is often low because they are under resourced and poorly connected.



The report highlights a number of key areas for action. First, a national mental health and work strategy should be developed, with a focus on evidence-based employment services integrated with mental health treatment. This should be underpinned by more and better systematic evidence on the incidence and consequences of mental ill health, including data on sickness absence and employment status before and after treatment.

Second, to limit the risk of long-term benefit dependence, Work and Income must improve early identification of mental health issues among people claiming benefit, invest in employment support services for jobseekers with mental ill-health and encourage support once in employment. In New Zealand, people with mental health issues are three times more likely to be unemployed. Mental health claims also make up around half of all social benefit claims.

Third, the government should consider a structural reform of its accident compensation (ACC) system to also cover illness. Currently, there is a strict distinction in New Zealand between injuries, which are covered by the ACC system in an effective and well-resourced way, and illnesses, which are covered by an under resourced general health and means-tested welfare system. Mental health issues usually fall into the latter group.

The New Zealand government asked the OECD to assess its mental health and work policies and outcomes against the framework of the OECD’s Council Recommendation on Integrated Mental Health, Skills and Work Policy, endorsed by all health and employment ministers from all OECD countries, including New Zealand, in 2016. New Zealand was the first OECD country that asked for such a review, in its efforts to develop an effective roadmap to tackle current inequities. With its strong focus on the link between mental health and employment, the OECD report complements the findings and recommendations of the New Zealand Government Inquiry into Mental Health and Addiction (He Ara Oranga), which was released only a week ago.


© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

SCOOP COVERAGE: CHRISTCHURCH MOSQUES TERROR ATTACK


Gordon Campbell: On The Gun Buy-Back Scheme

Do gun amnesties and buy-backs save lives? Since it’s always difficult to exclude all of the socio-economic factors that may be operating in parallel, the die-hard denialists in the gun lobby will always be able to find a bit of wiggle room.

Yet when taken in tandem with the actions already taken by the Ardern government to outlaw rapid fire rifles and shotguns, there is ample reason to conclude that the buy-back and amnesty scheme announced this morning will indeed save lives in New Zealand. More>>

 

World Refugee Day: Former Refugees Say Policy Must Change

This year, 1000 refugees will be able to resettle here in New Zealand - but there are restrictions on where those people can come from. More>>

ALSO:

Operation Burnham: Hit & Run Author 'Believes Insurgents Were In Village'

One of the authors of Hit & Run has backtracked from a key claim in the book, revealing he now believes armed insurgents were in a village attacked by New Zealand elite soldiers. More>>

ALSO:

The Lobbyist Staffer: PM Defends Handling Of Conflicts Of Interest

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says she's comfortable with the way her interim chief of staff's conflicts of interest were managed. More>>

ALSO:

2020 Election Changes: Same Day Enrolment, Supermarket Voting

New Zealand’s democracy is to be enhanced, with voters gaining the right to enrol on election day at next year’s general election and allowing ballot boxes to be placed in supermarkets and malls to make it easier for people to vote, Justice Minister Andrew Little has announced. More>>

ALSO:

"Population Density": Stats NZ, Phone Companies To Track People's Movements

Stats NZ is partnering with cellphone companies to launch a new way of tracking people's movements every hour. More>>

ALSO:

QS University Rankings: NZ Ranks Well "Despite Resourcing Constraints"

New Zealand universities continue to do well in international rankings, with the release of the 2020 QS world rankings showing that all eight universities remain in the world’s top 500. More>>

ALSO:

Mosque Attacks: 21 Month Prison Sentence For Sharing Live Stream Video

A Christchurch man who admitted redistributing the livestream video of the mosque killings has been sentenced to 21 months in prison. More>>

ALSO:

 
 
 
 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

  • PARLIAMENT
  • POLITICS
  • REGIONAL
 
 

InfoPages News Channels