He Ara Oranga, the Mental Health Inquiry’s report

The Mindfulness Education Group welcomes He Ara Oranga, the Mental Health Inquiry’s report to the Minister of Health and is pleased to see that several references to the importance of mindfulness for children and young people are noted.

For example, the report states that:

Everyone agrees that we should pay more attention to the wellbeing of our children. Some children experience great inequity through poverty, neglect, parental alcohol and other drug use and addiction, and parental mental distress. The wellbeing of these children is especially at risk. But parents and teachers report that all children and young people need to learn skills in regulating emotions, mindfulness, and coping with adversity – to be resilient (p.67).

It is promising to see this and other references in the report to the key role mindfulness can play in supporting wellbeing. It is also positive to see these references contextualised by the need to address the macro issues that impact on the wellbeing of children and young people. This consideration of wider societal issues and the need to address the social determinants of health is a clear theme throughout the Panel’s report.

We want to thank the 14,000+ New Zealanders who signed our petition to have mental skills training for all children and young people feature as a key recommendation in this report. While this did not happen, we take heart that the Panel called for a stronger focus on mental health promotion and prevention, including the need for a more organised approach focusing on quality-assured programmes in schools, workplaces and local communities.

We view these references to mindfulness and the benefits it provides to children and young people as evidence that our voices were heard and a clear mandate to continue advocating the need for our important work.

This is just the beginning. Thank you for your support.

Pause, Breathe, Smile is supported by the Mental Health Foundation of New Zealand. Visit https://www.mentalhealth.org.nz/home/news/article/229/mental-health-inquiry-time-to-get-on-with-it to read the Mental Health Foundation’s response to the report.