We all know the mental health system needs work. Things need to change - and you can be a part of it.
Whatever your specific experience, passion or interest in changing the mental health system, there are many things you can do this election to help drive better mental health policy. Together, we can advocate for good mental health policy that’s beyond beds and inadequate services, for mental health policy that truly enacts change. Never underestimate people power!
Below are a number of ways you can get involved to influence positive change for mental health this election.
1. Find out which parties’ mental health policies align with your values
Many of us hold differing values and views on mental health, which are often based on our own personal experiences. Before voting or influencing change, it’s important to identify which mental health policies address the changes you’d like to see.
An easy way to find this out is by visiting parties’ websites. Below are links to the mental health policies of all parties currently holding seats in Parliament (if their mental health policies aren’t available yet, we have linked to their policies page). Policy.nz also has an overview of what mental health intentions key parties have released here.
Note these policies are in alphabetical order - the Mental Health Foundation of New Zealand is proud to be politically neutral and doesn’t hold biases or preferences towards any political party.
- The ACT Party’s mental health policy
- The Green Party’s mental health policy
- The Labour Party’s mental health policy
- The National Party’s mental health policy
- Te Pāti Māori’s mental health and wellbeing policy
For more options, here is a list of all registered parties (parties who can be elected this election).
2. Learn more about what good mental health policy looks like
Policy is an in-depth, specialist topic, and can take a lot of time to understand – time people often don’t have spare. To help, we’ve put together a four-step guide to good mental health policy and an election statement listing some policy changes to ask for based on research and evidence.
You might have some other mental health policy changes you’d like to ask parties for. Ka pai - the main thing is that you get involved in driving the system changes you’d like to see.
3. Write a letter to your local MP, party candidates or party mental health spokesperson
When you know what mental health policy changes you’d like to see, you can write a letter to your local MP, candidates or party mental health or health spokespeople to ask if they’d consider adopting them. Writing letters to MPs can help persuade political parties to take action on certain issues, both by drawing attention to an issue they may not have heard of before, and making them aware people in their area are passionate about that issue.
To write to your local MP, you’ll need to know what electorate you are in. You can find your electorate here.
Unsure how to start? Use our handy letter-writing templates here as a guide. If you’re unsure what to write about, you can use our election statement as a guide.
One of the best ways to support good mental health policy is by voting for the party you believe has the best one. You can find out how to register to vote and place a vote at this website, which offers voting resources in a range of languages and accessible formats.
5. Keep informed
There are many ways you can keep informed about mental health policy this election, even if you have just a few minutes! For example, you can:
Looking after yourself this election
Reading and hearing about the issues being discussed in the lead-up to the elections can be really tough, especially if you are directly involved in the debates or have a personal stake in a debated issue.
Your wellbeing may need an extra boost during this time. Take a look at our tips page for ways you can support yourself.
Want to get in touch with us?
Authorised by Shaun Robinson, Mental Health Foundation of New Zealand, Eden 3, Ground Floor, 16 Normanby Road, Mt Eden, Auckland 0124.
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