The Drug Foundation has given the Government top marks for its response to the mental health inquiry but says tomorrow's Budget will be key to its success.
"The best thing is the Government has accepted, apart from a few things, the entirety of the recommendations and the recommendations themselves are big," said Drug Foundation executive director Ross Bell.
"The inquiry did a massive piece of work and for the Government to accept the bulk of that is fantastic.
"Obviously, for us, waiting until tomorrow to see how much money is attached to all of those things. That kind of transformational change they're calling for is going to need significant funding," Bell told the Herald.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Health Minister David Clark today announced the long-awaited Government response to the Report of the Inquiry into Mental Health and Addiction. Tomorrow the Government will reveal how that response will be supported financially in the Budget.
The inquiry reported back in December after a long consultation process with a detailed report and 40 recommendations aimed at changing the way mental health and addiction issues are treated.
The Government has accepted or accepted in principle the majority of the recommendations. Others, around controls on alcohol and drugs either need further consideration or work is already underway.
One controversial recommendation made by the inquiry panel, a suicide reduction target of 20 per cent by 2030, has been rejected, with the Government saying no suicide is acceptable.
But a suicide prevention office will be set up, within the newly announced mental health and wellbeing commission.
The independent commission will replace the Mental Health Commissioner in the Office of the Health and Disability. The previous time-limited Mental Health Commission was closed down three years early in 2012 by the previous National government.
One of the recommendations accepted by the Government is the establishment of a cross-party working group on mental health and wellbeing.
National's mental health spokesman Matt Doocey said the party wanted to work with the Government on the issue.
"Our focus is on delivering more frontline services to respond to the growing need for mental health [services]."
Doocey said National had costed the report's target of increasing access to mental health services from 3 per cent of the population to 20 per cent at $1.9 billion.
"They need to come up with the funds tomorrow if they are serious about addressing mental health in this country."
While Bell believed the Government should have acted on stricter regulation on the sale and supply of alcohol, he was pleased that addiction services had been elevated.
"The report highlights that addiction is the poor cousin of the poor cousin, but that has to be backed up or reinforced by funding.
"There has to be some clarity around how much additional addiction funding is going in. That would make me more comfortable."
Addiction Practitioners' Association Aotearoa New Zealand executive director Sue Paton said its members would have to wait till tomorrow to find out if the addiction workforce and addiction services would be funded appropriately.
"[The association] wants to see practical support to ensure earlier intervention for people affected by addiction, reduced waiting times, an increase in the recruitment and retention of the addiction workforce and a dramatic increase in peer workers," Paton said.
Mental Health Foundation chief executive Shaun Robinson welcomed a significant increase in access to services.
"They will be much more early support for people, so that is urgently needed. That on its own will not transform mental health.
"So while the Government has at least agreed in principle to 38 of the 40 recommendations of the inquiry, until those recommendations become action, we will not have truly changed what's going on in mental health," Robinson said.
The Mental Health Foundation had thought a suicide reduction target would have been useful but the Government had committed to a strategy to reduce suicide and setting up an office for suicide reduction.
"That's more important in the long run. A target was one tool in a bigger toolbox. Provided we get that toolbox and start using it very quickly then we can live with them rejecting a target."
Robinson said the Government had inherited a mess in mental health going back decades.
"It's not something that can be fixed in one Budget or in one year or even one term of Government , so we have to work with them and make the change as positive as possible."
Lifeline Aotearoa backed the Government's decision not to set a suicide reduction target, saying every life mattered and one suicide was too many.
"The solution to our suicide crisis in Aotearoa lies within our communities and in our ability to support people before they get to the point of needing specialist intervention. It is heartening to see that the Government has recognised these links," Lifeline clinical manager Renee Mathews said.
The Association of Counsellors said the new commission would have to deliver practical, frontline services.
"It can't just be another bureaucracy, so the devil is in the detail and we want to see real action," president Bev Weber said.
The key recommendations accepted by the Government include:
• Significantly increasing access to publicly funded mental health and addiction services for people with mild to moderate needs
• Committing to increasing choice by broadening the types of services available
• Urgently completing the national suicide prevention strategy
• Establishing an independent commission to provide leadership and oversight of mental health and addiction
• Repealing and replacing the Mental Health (Compulsory Assessment and Treatment) Act 1992