“We do these things not because they are easy, but because they are hard.”
John F. Kennedy
September saw the release of Kia Manawanui Aotearoa – the long-term pathway to mental wellbeing by the Government and Ministry of Health. Building on the agenda set in He Ara Oranga: Report of the Government Inquiry into Mental Health and Addiction, Kia Manawanui outlines a vision for the next 10 years to fundamentally shift the way Aotearoa supports mental wellbeing. A call for increased focus on the systemic changes required to enable people being supported to proactively manage their wellbeing.
More than ever before, Kia Manawanui calls for collective commitment and action to uncover and support new ways of working. It acknowledges that while COVID-19 has increased pressure on our already struggling mental health and addiction system, the challenges we are tackling as a sector are not new. However, like the concept of the team of 5 million navigating and responding to the COVID-19 pandemic, Kia Manawanui emphasises that transformation will only occur when we all play our part.
The long-term pathway holds the view that it is ‘communities’ who know what they need. This is a concept reflected in the KPI Programme where streams work together to use data and benchmarking to inform initiatives that address the challenges faced by their populations of interest and respective services.
An exemplar of this in September was the workshops delivered by the Adult Forensic stream working group. Featured in this issue of The Indicator, this is just one example of a community within the mental health and addiction sector committed to finding new ways of working together to improve services and ensure they are responsive to the needs of the people who access them.
Through the KPI Programme we are exposed to numerous examples of workforce groups, services and communities taking the lead on local solutions and intentionally challenging themselves to uncover new and better ways of doing what they do. We encourage everyone to check out the different opportunities emerging to co-create and co-design the future of our mental health and addiction system, including having your say on the Equal access to wellbeing framework and attending upcoming sector events.
We appreciate it is a time of considerable transition as we all adapt to simultaneously limiting while living with COVID-19. For our whānau in Tāmaki Makaurau we send all our aroha and appreciation for the significant sacrifices you have made to keep Aotearoa safe. We hold hope that collective efforts to vaccinate as many of our eligible and vulnerable populations as possible mean we can all safely connect again kanohi ki te kanohi very soon.