With our mental health system receiving the dire attention it deserves, it is concerning and disappointing that those
who represent an outdated model are in charge of its rejuvenation.
So says the New Zealand Association of Counsellors (NZAC) in response to the government’s newly announced “leadership
team” that will advise how to implement the recommendations found in the Mental Health Inquiry (MHI).
The 21-member leadership team brings but two Māori perspective and one with lived experience of mental health issues;
Ministry of Health (MoH) and District Health Boards (DHBs) representatives fill out the remaining spots.
The Association’s Youth Mental Health Portfolio holder, Christine Macfarlane, says the response to the MHI will
therefore be weighted towards our medical systems, as opposed to those who have lived experience of poor mental health
and its wider implications.
“Up until now, MoH and DHBs have been short-sighted and insular in how to address the mental health challenge facing New
“There doesn’t appear to be a culturally appropriate, community focussed and holistic approach which is needed to
improve New Zealander’s Mental Health.
“This has been a mutual area of concern not only for community and therapeutically focussed organisations, but also for
consumers, Māori, Pasifika, the elderly and our youth.”
These groups have been poorly represented when it comes to addressing New Zealand’s mental health challenge.
“It is disappointing that government chose to take the same approach they took in the past and disregard those who
invested so much into the MHI, as they will be the ones that will be affected by the outcome.”