S36: Recovery From The Status Quo – the transformative challenge for mental health services.

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By September 5, 2019 No Comments

Authors: Rob Warriner

Year: 2019

Event: 2019 TheMHS Conference

Subject: Recovery From The Status Quo - the transformative challenge for mental health services.

Type of resource: Conference Presentations and Papers



Rob Warriner has worked in the community-based NGOs (non-government organisations) since 1993. Since 2003 he has been employed as the Chief Executive of WALSH Trust in Auckland, New Zealand.

Rob is a Board member of Platform (Platform is the national association of non-government mental health and addiction services).

In 2019, a the NZ Government initiated a Ministerial Inquiry into Mental Health and Addictions; they heard from many about a broken system. My own organisation echoed the sentiments in suggesting that the mental health system is flattered by use of the word “system”. In truth it represents more, a disaggregated, complex body of well-intentioned, discrete interests and priorities. We described a “system” that is convoluted and expensive; a system that, not uncommonly, is experienced as deeply dissatisfying at best, inaccessible and irrelevant at worst.

The Inquiry’s conclusions recognised the need for a transformation in how we conceive, think about, define, and respond to mental distress in our communities. “New Zealand’s mental health and addiction problems cannot be fixed by government alone, nor by the health system.” “We can’t medicate or treat our way out of the epidemic of mental distress and addiction...”

This paper argues an assumption that recovery-focused, peer-led, trauma-informed service responses that are based upon social determinants of health and well-being, delivered in partnership with engaged communities, have the greatest potential to make a positive difference to people struggling to live their lives. Achieving this potential is contingent upon the transformation spoken of in the Inquiry report.

Learning Objectives

Learning Objective 1: People will take away an insight of both the challenges and opportunities that the New Zealand Ministerial Inquiry into Mental Health and Addictions has revealed.

Learning Objective 2: People will be asked to reflect on the challenges of shifting from an old system (designed to meet last Century’s needs and priorities) to a new system that is responsive to rapid changes in communities, how people engage and relate, people’s lives, and their expectations.


NZ Ministry of Health, (2018). Te Ara Oranga: Report of The Government Inquiry inot Mental Health and Addiction. https://mentalhealth.inquiry.govt.nz/

DBHIDS, Philadelphia, (2006). The Practice Guidelines for Resilience and Recovery Oriented Treatment. https://dbhids.org/practice-guidelines

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