View the following short video about the report's findings.

The above animated video of the report's findings in English is published on YouTube(external link).


Government Inquiry into Mental Health and Addiction

Oranga Tāngata, Oranga Whānau


Early in 2018, the Government set up an Inquiry to look at how we should change the mental health and addiction system. 

Six panel members went out to hear the voices of the community—on what’s working, what’s not, and what could be done better.  

Over 5,000 people told us what they thought in submissions.  Many more had their say in hundreds of meetings, from Kaitāia to Invercargill. 

We’ve heard from people with mental health and addiction challenges, people working to support them, families, whānau and people who’ve lost someone to suicide. 

We recommend making big changes in ten areas, and putting more government money into mental health and addiction.


1.  Give people more access to services and more choice

Get support to more people.  Right now, we aim to help the 3% of our people who need it most.  But 20% of our people are dealing with some sort of problem at any one time.  So we should set a higher target to get more people help, sooner.  Give people more choices about what sort of support they get—like someone to talk to, someone who understands your culture or help with alcohol and other drugs—and give people more support in their communities.  Everybody needs to work together to make these changes.


2.  Transform primary health care

Make primary care work better for mental health and addiction—for instance, with the sort of support people can get at their GP.


3.  Support non-government organisations

Make it easier for NGOs to help people in their communities.  That includes kaupapa Māori services.  Make a government agency responsible for supporting NGOs.


4.  Prevent problems and promote wellbeing

Get government agencies to work together better to prevent problems in the first place.  One should take the lead on social wellbeing.  That means getting the basics right—like a good start for kids, good jobs and housing, being connected to your community and culture and being protected from things like violence, abuse, bullying and discrimination.


5.  Put people at the centre 

Give people who need support more say in how things are set up and run.  If people want, make it easier for their families and whānau to get information and be part of their care, and make sure the carers get enough help to do it.


6.  Take strong action on alcohol and other drugs

Be stricter on selling and supplying alcohol.  Treat drug addiction as a health problem.  Give people more help with addictions. Offer them more services—from detox and rehab to help in their community—and set up stronger government leadership.


7.  Prevent suicide 

Get the national suicide prevention strategy finished, urgently.  Reduce the suicide rate by 20% by 2030.  Set up a suicide prevention office.  Put more money into preventing suicide.  Give more help to families and whānau who’ve lost someone, and investigate deaths more quickly, with less stress and cost to families.


8.  Reform the Mental Health Act 

Change the law to give more protection to people’s human rights.  Allow them to make more of their own decisions, with support, and make the law work better to help them get well and stay well.


9.  Set up a new Mental Health and Wellbeing Commission 

It should take the lead in changing the way the system works and be the watchdog.


10.  Look at the big picture 

The Government’s now reviewing the whole health and disability system—so think about mental health and addiction when looking at things like how District Health Boards, GPs and community services should work.  And finally, get political parties working together on mental health and wellbeing.


We need to make big changes on mental health and addiction.  That will take time.  

But we need to start now.  We’re stronger when we work together.  We can make things much better.


He Ara Oranga

Report of the Government Inquiry into Mental Health and Addiction

Read the report at:

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