Over the weekend, The Helen Clark Foundation released the Āhurutia Te Rito | It takes a village report written by Holly Walker on the troubling state of Maternal Mental Health in Aotearoa New Zealand. PADA was asked to help contribute information to this valuable report and we hope the government will ensure perinatal mental wellbeing will be a key focus area in the formation of Health NZ.
The report made the following recommendations:
– Expanding the provision of public housing and prioritising placements for whānau with young children or expecting new babies
– Increasing funding for midwives and partnering with the sector to develop a strategy to fill urgent vacancies and address long-term skill shortages
– Funding the new Māori Health Authority to commission additional and expanded kaupapa Māori initiatives for whānau wellbeing, with a particular focus on reducing high rates of perinatal distress and maternal suicide among wāhine Māori
– Extending ACC coverage for birth injuries to include mental injuries from birth trauma, expanding affected parents’ access to support during their recovery
– Providing fast access to affordable, culturally appropriate therapeutic support to parents with early signs of distress, and guarantee immediate access to best practice specialist help if they become unwell.