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National Indicators: picture of NZ mental health & addiction

17 August 2011

National Indicators – a picture of mental health and addiction in NZ

The Mental Health Commission has today released a report which brings together a large amount of existing and new information to build a better picture of mental health and addiction in New Zealand.

National Indicators 2011 measures how mentally healthy New Zealanders are and how well the health sector is helping the recovery of those most seriously affected by mental illness or addiction.

The report will inform decision-makers of key areas for action to address mental distress and addiction.

National Indicators 2011 shows that New Zealand’s overall life satisfaction is higher than the median for people in other OECD countries, with 86 percent of the population feeling satisfied with their life. People less likely to report life satisfaction are middle-aged (45-54 years), Mäori, Pacific or from the most deprived neighbourhoods in New Zealand.

The report also highlights an improvement in New Zealand’s suicide death rate since the mid-1990s.

Chair Commissioner Dr Lynne Lane said: “This is the first time the Commission has brought together the key statistics on mental health and addiction to build a better picture of what is happening in our communities.”

Dr Lane said there has been some positive progress made in several areas: “We have seen a fall in the number of suicides in the decade until 2008. But, while the overall suicide rate had fallen, the female youth suicide rate is higher than any other OECD country,” she said.

The Mental Health Commission serves as an independent monitor for the Government of mental health services. It advocates for people with experience of mental distress or addiction, and for their families.

Key findings

• The majority of New Zealanders (86%) report feeling satisfied with their life as a whole
• People less likely to report feeling satisfied are middle-aged, Mäori, Pacific and those from low socio-economic neighbourhoods
• The suicide death rate has improved since the mid-1990s. In 2008 the suicide death rate was lower than in the mid-1980s
• The proportion of the population accessing secondary mental health and addiction services has increased from 2.2% in 2002/03 to 2.7% in 2008/09
• Overall, people with symptoms of mental illness or addiction feel less included in society
• Young people appear to be the most socially excluded of all groups among people with symptoms of mental distress

To download a copy of the report visit:


Our vision: The best mental health and wellbeing for all
• The Mental Health Commission’s (the Commission) purpose is to contribute to mental health and wellbeing for all New Zealanders. It aims to improve mental health and addiction (MHA) services and to influence society’s overall response to mental health issues.
• The Commission works to achieve this vision by serving as an independent monitor and advocate for people with experience of mental distress and/or addiction, and for their families, whānau.
• Over the past decade the Commission’s vision and leadership has contributed to internationally recognised gains in New Zealand’s MHA sector. Its original 1998 Blueprint played a crucial role in increasing investment in specialist MHA services, with a focus on recovery.


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