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Māori mental health: A report commissioned by the Waitangi Tribunal for the Wai 2575 Health Services and Outcomes Kaupapa Inquiry.

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Waitangi Tribunal, ,

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This Waitangi Tribunal report provides an overview and critical analysis of New Zealand's mental health system and its impact on Māori.

It traces the evolution of the mental health services from institutional to community-based care, highlighting the shift towards services tailored to Māori needs amidst increasing mental illness rates among Māori in the latter half of the 20th century. The structure of the current health system is examined, detailing the available mental health services, the use of compulsion under the Mental Health (Compulsory Assessment and Treatment) Act 1992, and the integration of Kaupapa Māori services and cultural competence within the workforce. The report delves into the systemic participation of Māori in decision-making roles and as service providers, assessing government policies aimed at enhancing Māori influence in the mental health sector. It identifies structural barriers that hinder the full incorporation of Māori perspectives and the autonomy of Māori service providers. Furthermore, it scrutinises the barriers Māori face in accessing mental health treatment, such as service fragmentation, cost, and cultural inappropriateness, linking these challenges to broader socio-economic disparities. A significant portion of the report is devoted to the issue of suicide and self-harm among Māori, noting the alarming rise in suicide rates and exploring potential socio-economic and cultural explanations. It evaluates government suicide prevention strategies, the support systems for bereaved families, and the overall effectiveness of these interventions. Concluding with appendices that include research directions and a summary of mental health-related claims, the report emphasises its high-level overview approach due to time constraints, acknowledging the absence of a detailed analysis of regional variations or the deeper societal causes of mental health disparities among Māori. While there are not many references to housing, the report does note that substandard housing is a pre-disposing factor to mental ill-health, and it also provides useful economic, material, and personal statistical information.

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