Making progress on mental health and addiction
Director-General Ashley Bloomfield recently met with interim Commission Chair Hayden Wano. Mr Wano has a deep knowledge of the mental health and addiction sector and the wider health system.
Last week the Commission meet for the first-time last week. The Commission will monitor the Ministry’s response to the Inquiry into Mental Health and Addiction. The Ministry and the Commission have committed to working constructively together.
On 21 October Carla na Nagara, our newly appointed Suicide Prevention Director within the Mental Health and Addiction Directorate, joined us. The development of this office is part of a wider plan to improve all aspects of mental health and wellbeing for people in New Zealand.
Ms na Nagara has significant experience having worked as a Coroner for the past 12 years. The role is initially for two years, during which the Ministry will house and support the Suicide Prevention Office. The intention is that it will become a stand-alone Office in coming years. The Ministry is excited to have Ms na Nagara and her expertise on board.
This is an important appointment in gaining traction in suicide prevention. Carla na Nagara will bring a wealth of knowledge and experience to the Office. Her appointment means we are continuing to build momentum in this critical area and focusing on saving lives.
Ms na Nagara says, ‘Through my work as a coroner, I’ve seen that suicide is not always the result of a mental health problem or a simple moment of distress. To be understood it needs to be seen in the wider context of a person’s life.
‘Like so many other New Zealanders, I’ve also felt the effects of suicide on my own community. I know we need to do more.’
The Ministry has a clear focus on a range of initiatives to reduce the number of New Zealanders taking their own life:
Every Life Matters - He Tapu te Oranga o ia Tangata: Suicide Prevention Strategy 2019–2029 and Suicide Prevention Action Plan 2019–2024 for Aotearoa New Zealand.