Summit puts mental health on global agenda

  • Hon Dr David Clark

Health Minister Dr David Clark says the first ever Global Ministerial Mental Health Summit has ended with a commitment to improve mental health worldwide and challenge stigma and discrimination.

Overnight New Zealand endorsed the Global Declaration on Achieving Equality for Mental Health in the 21st Century, which acknowledges that everyone has the right to the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health.

“Over the course of the two day summit in London it was clear that New Zealand is far from alone in grappling with its response to mental health issues,” David Clark says.

“Mental health is a global challenge. It affects every country, every community and every family. The Declaration is a line in the sand – an acknowledgement that we can and must do better in protecting and promoting mental health and wellbeing.

“One key theme that emerged at the Summit was the importance of looking beyond mental health services and systems to community led responses. We need to listen to local communities about their needs and about their solutions.

“We need to enable and support conversations about mental health at every level of our society. And we need to build on efforts such as our own current Mental Health Awareness Week and the  “Like Minds, Like Mine” campaign that promote a healthy and respectful discussion about mental health.

“The Summit highlighted for me the importance of the work of the independent Inquiry into Mental Health and Addiction (which is due to report back next month).

“The Inquiry received more than 5500 submissions and held 400 meetings – we need to listen to those voices as we prepare the Government’s response,” says David Clark.