Policy & advocacy

Working to influence public policy to have a positive effect on the mental health and wellbeing of all New Zealanders.
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Our mental health and wellbeing doesn’t just happen by accident. It is affected by how we live, think and what’s happening around us. 

We advocate for changes to improve the determinants of mental health and wellbeing – that is, the social, economic and cultural factors that affect our mental wellbeing. 

We do this by making submissions and by providing policy advice to government and decision-makers, and by informing the public about opportunities to get involved through our relationships with communities, our work in the media, newsletters and social media channels. 

All our policy advice and advocacy is evidence-based, incorporates matauranga Māori and is informed by our engagement with Māori, people with lived experience of mental illness and other affected groups to ensure our policy positions reflect their views and experiences.

We focus our attention on where we can make the biggest impact.

We focus on systemic advocacy rather than providing individual advocacy support. 

This means we promote changes to attitudes and behaviours, policies, systems or laws that impact negatively on people with experience of mental distress and create barriers to wellbeing for all of us. We also encourage policies, systems and laws that protect and promote wellbeing.

Our policy and advocacy work doesn’t just look at the health sector

As well as advocating to improve the mental health system and increase support for people bereaved by suicide, we advise on laws and policies that aren’t directly related to the health sector but that have a big impact on our mental wellbeing. This means tackling, for example, poverty, racism, colonisation, discrimination, family violence, poor housing, bullying and isolation. It also means standing up for the things we know protect people’s mental wellbeing, such as tino rangatiratanga, our sense of identity and belonging, and exercising our human rights.

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