Investing in the mental health of communities

Using mental health promotion and wellbeing science methodologies

Summary of recommendations

  1.  Aotearoa must move progressively towards sophisticated upstream approaches to mental health as part of the solution to the current mental health crisis. The upstream approach is best informed by evidence from mental health promotion (MHP) and the science of mental wellbeing.
  2. Policy makers must be aware of the inherent status quo bias towards an illness-orientated medical approach and consider what new and emerging evidence and epidemiological data is telling us about the mental wellbeing of New Zealanders and the pathway forward.
  3.  Prioritise the implementation of He Ara Oranga recommendations (agreed in principle by the Government) to oversee and coordinate enhanced cross-government investment in prevention and resilience-building activities (recommendation 16) and develop an investment and quality assurance strategy for mental health promotion and prevention (recommendation 19).
  4. Develop a clearly articulated high level vision for the MHP strategy to capture the imagination and support of all New Zealanders for this significant shift in direction.
  5. Establish an advisory team of experts and current practitioners in mental health promotion, epidemiology, social marketing and mental wellbeing science to guide MHP strategy.
  6. Ringfence a percentage of the national mental health budget to focus solely on MHP solutions. This begins to send a message that the mental health system is no longer just going to be the ambulance at the bottom of the cliff.
  7. Promote to the public an easily accessible time-series dashboard of population psychological indicators (distress and wellbeing) using existing data sets and other supplementary data.
  8. Establish an appropriate body outside of the clinical mental health system tasked with documenting the full number of MHP activities in Aotearoa New Zealand, evaluating their activities and identifying the supports they need to make them flourish


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