New mental health and addiction services making a difference for Māori

Māori with mental health and addiction challenges have easier access to care thanks to twenty-nine Kaupapa Māori primary mental health and addiction services across Aotearoa, Associate Minister of Health Peeni Henare says.

“Labour is the first government to take mental health seriously for all New Zealanders. We know that Māori have struggled over the years to get meaningful, equitable support, which is why we committed to funding new by Māori, for Māori kaupapa mental health services as part of our ground-breaking Access and Choice programme,” Peeni Henare said.

“Providing services for tāngata whaiora and whānau that are underpinned by Mātauranga Māori ensures a culturally safe and inclusive environment in which Māori are much more likely to have a positive experience accessing support.”

Minister Henare was in Porirua with provider Ora Toa today to mark the opening of its new service Ngā Kete Aronui, one of the twenty-nine new or recently established services across Aotearoa.

“Over the past few weeks, I have visited thirteen of these new services across Te Ika-a-Māui. From Waitematā to Wellington, Tairāwhiti to Tāneatua, it is a heartening experience seeing tailored, culturally competent wellbeing services being delivered by Māori, for Māori and making a real difference in their communities,” Peeni Henare said.

“From early 2020 until May this year, these growing Kaupapa Māori primary mental health and addiction services have delivered more than 20,000 sessions for those with mild to moderate mental health and addiction issues.

“Caring for tāngata whaiora on this scale would not have been possible had it not been for this Government’s record investment in mental health.

“Across the motu, I’ve spoken with people who have never interacted with the mental health and addiction system before but now have the support and tools they need to face some tough challenges.

“It’s okay not to be ok, the key is reaching out for help when you need it. I know in a Kaupapa Māori context that is going to be easier now these services are in place and continue to roll out in new areas,” Peeni Henare said.

This is a five-year programme funded through the Government’s 2019 Wellbeing Budget, with funding increasing each year to allow for a phased approach to service implementation. The first of the twenty-nine kaupapa Māori primary mental health and addiction services were in place in 2020, with the others following progressively after that.