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Mental Health & Addiciton update

Kia ora,

Robyn Shearer, Deputy Director-General, Mental Health & Addiction.

Having the right support available, when and where people need it most, is a key part of the primary mental health and addiction services of the Access and Choice Programme. This week we are taking another step forward with the rollout of this programme with expressions of interest now being sought to participate in the new kaupapa Māori primary mental health and addiction services procurement process. You can read more about the Request for Registrations of Interest below. This is in addition to the work we are already doing to expand access to and choice of Pacific and Youth primary mental health and addiction services.

It’s also great to have announced this week that specialist alcohol and drug addiction services are being strengthened across New Zealand. The new services being funded include additional funding for four beds at Napier’s Springhill Residential Addiction Centre, managed withdrawal services for Tairāwhiti, Lakes and all five South Island DHBs, and peer support in Rotorua, Taupō and Gisborne. Funding is also available for DHBs to strengthen existing alcohol and drug specialist services including residential care providers across the country.

This investment will help alleviate pressure on services and provide a more co-ordinated approach across regions.

Lastly, as we welcome in Matariki (or Puanga if you live on the West Coast), I hope you are able to take some time to pause, reflect, connect with whanau and friends, and plan for the new year ahead.

Ngā mihi nui

Robyn Shearer,
Deputy-Director General, Mental Health and Addiction

Registrations of interest sought for kaupapa Māori primary mental health and addiction services

This week, we have released a registrations of interest process for new kaupapa Māori primary mental health and addiction services.

This work is part of making it easier for Māori to have access to and choice of primary mental health and addiction services and support, when and where it is needed, from skilled kaupapa Māori providers.

We’d previously heard from kaupapa Māori providers that our usual procurement processes don’t set them up for success. So, we are taking a different procurement approach to encourage greater participation from small, medium and large Māori providers. There is now a greater focus on kōrero and direct engagement in place of written proposals.

The process will start with expressions of interest, and submissions can be made either via video or a short, written document. Submissions can be in English or te reo. We’re following up with oral presentations as the second stage for those that progress.

The RFP will have two streams. The Tuakana stream is for larger, established Māori providers with well-developed infrastructure and services.  The Teina stream is an incubator stream for smaller or newly-established Māori providers with proposals that are developed but would benefit from further support to get them contract- and service delivery-ready.

Māori-led organisations that are interested can find out more information on the government electronic tender systems (GETS) website, including a helpful video explaining the process.
We expect the first contracts to be in place in October 2020 and services up and running in early 2021.

Go to the GETS website for more information.

Working with farming communities to talk about wellbeing

One of the groups working to help support their community cope with the impacts of COVID-19 is the Rural Support Trust (RST).

The National Council of Rural Support Trusts is running a six-month campaign to promote mental wellbeing to rural communities using the Five Ways of Wellbeing, through monthly features in Farmers’ Weekly (print and online editions) and social media.

The aim of the campaign is to ensure rural communities know how they can look after and maintain their mental wellbeing and that it is ok to not be ok all of the time.  Help is available from people who understand the specific stresses of the rural community and how to access that help if they need it.

Neil Bateup of Rural Support Trust was at an event recently and said that “…it is powerful to see what an impact our isolation has had on people. Some were keen to launch in for hugs; others have obvious anxiety about getting close to others again. But the good news is that there is plenty of expertise and support around when it’s needed.”

East Coast Rural Support Trust member and Clinical Psychologist, Sarah Donaldson, agrees that of the Five Ways to Wellbeing, connecting could be the most protective factor to staying well. “This can be the littlest of connection like talking to your regular tanker driver or a phone call to a neighbour, through to having friends over for dinner, going to kids’ sports, the young farmers club or spending time away with partners or family.”

Nominations sought for 2020 Minister of Health Volunteer Awards

The annual Minister of Health Volunteer Awards are now open for nominations. This is later than previous years due to COVID-19. With the Election coming up, the nomination period is a bit shorter than it has been previously, but what a year to recognise the efforts of our sector volunteers.

These awards recognise and celebrate individuals and teams of volunteers who demonstrate outstanding dedication to supporting health and disability services. Outstanding achievement awards will be presented in the following categories: Health Care Provider Service, Community or NGO Health Service, Māori Health Service, Pacific Health Service, Youth Volunteers and Long Service Volunteers. There is also an overall Health Volunteer of the Year.

Nominations close on 17 July 2020. The awards will be presented in a series of regional presentations in late July and/or early August.

More information, including nomination forms and eligibility criteria, can be found at Minister of Health Volunteer Awards or email volunteerawards@health.govt.nz for more information or to submit your nomination/s.

Read: Coming home – kindness, gratitude and empathy helps

Samantha Hunter and Mitch Logan are among the tens of thousands of Kiwis returning home amidst the global Covid-19 pandemic.

The couple have just finished 14 days in a managed isolation, and are now preparing to make a new life in Wellington.
Samantha and Mitch point out that Kiwis coming home all have unique sets of reasons for doing so – and they hope that fellow New Zealanders are able to treat them with kindness.

“Everyone has their own circumstances for returning. We’re coming back indefinitely, so very soon we’ll have an income, will be paying tax and putting money back into the country. We’re really excited to be home again,” says Mitch.

Read their full story

Celebrate new beginnings this Matariki

This year, Matariki begins on 13 July, giving us the opportunity to reflect on the past, reset and plan for the future.

The Māori New Year is celebrated with the re-emergence and rising of the Matariki star cluster, signalling a fresh start, promise and hope.

Given all we’ve been through over the past few months during the COVID-19 pandemic, it is timely to reflect on all that has happened and the lessons we’ve learned, and to take some time to celebrate Matariki with whānau and friends.

To help welcome Matariki, and also provide some simple things to do with tamariki over the school holidays, our friends at Sparklers at Home have developed three fun Matariki adventures.

Read more about celebrating Matariki on the All Right? website.

Where to get help

Visit the Ministry for Health website for detailed information on mental health and addiction helplines and what to do in an emergency.


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