Māori have highest rate of mental illness and addiction - new research

3:51 pm on 11 December 2019

New research into mental health and addiction services has found Māori have the highest prevalence of mental illness and addiction of any group.

A staged photo of a young man hunched over, used to illustrate the use of seclusion rooms or mental health issues.

The prevalence of mental illness and addiction is nearly 1 in 3 for Māori. Photo: RNZ

The Monitoring and Advocacy Report tracked the progress made on the quality of services over a five-year period to June 2018.

The prevalence of mental illness and addiction is nearly 1 in 3 for Māori and 1 in 4 for Pacific people, compared to 1 in 5 for the total population.

Forty one percent of adults who experienced seclusion within inpatient services in 2017 were also Māori, an increase from 36 percent in 2013.

No DHBs met the 95 percent target of people having a transition plan upon discharge from an inpatient unit in 2017 and only 77 percent of Māori reported that their transition plan was reviewed regularly.

Mental Health Commissioner Kevin Allan said Māori also had higher rates of homelessness and supported accommodation than others accessing services.

"This update report highlights a need for services to continue to focus on making improvements in a number of areas, including in relation to equity, consumer partnership, and the use of compulsory treatment and seclusion, especially for Māori," he said.

Positive trends from the research include most people improving as a result of the support and care of services, and reporting positive experiences.

People's clinician-rated scores of mental distress and social functioning improved by around half upon being discharged from a mental health service.

Pacific adults reported the greatest improvements at 61 percent, compared to 54 percent for the general population and Māori.

There were 82 percent of consumers and whānau reported that they would recommend their service to friends and family if they had a similar need.

The mental health commissioner will release a fuller assessment of services next year.

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