Mental health and wellbeing

This needs assessment, published in March 2023, sets out the in-depth assessment of mental health needs of children and young people involved with Oranga Tamariki.

This needs assessment examines how current services and supports within the children’s system are meeting those needs and where there are gaps or barriers.

We know that mental health and wellbeing is one component of broader wellbeing, or oranga. Positive mental wellbeing is most likely when people feel: 

  • safe
  • connected
  • valued
  • worthy
  • accepted
  • a sense of belonging, identity and hope for the future.

Young people involved with Oranga Tamariki often have high mental health and wellbeing support needs. These needs are intersectional and often inequitably distributed.

Māori, Pacific, disabled and rainbow children are overrepresented in the Oranga Tamariki population, and are therefore at greater risk of poor mental health and wellbeing. 

The Government’s existing mental health and wellbeing support services are not meeting the needs of this population group.

Mental health and wellbeing needs of children and young people should be met by a comprehensive system of supports and services that address the broad environmental factors that contribute to wellbeing, involving both whānau and communities, and by children’s agencies working collaboratively. 

If you have questions or suggestions about this, or other needs assessments, email our Programme Team: 

Cross-agency plan for implementation

Oranga Tamariki–Ministry for Children, Manatū Hauora–Ministry for Health, and Te Whatu Ora–Health New Zealand have agreed a cross-agency plan to improve the way mental health and wellbeing supports and services are coordinated and navigated by the children and young people and their families and whānau involved with Oranga Tamariki. 

The cross agency plan for implementation sets out how agencies will jointly respond to the 5 priority areas identified by the needs assessment:

  • identify what a mental wellbeing-promoting and enhancing system looks like 
  • build frontline workers’ and caregivers’ knowledge 
  • improve collaboration and navigation across the system 
  • increase capacity of existing services 
  • investigate current levels of unmet mental health and wellbeing needs.

Published: April 19, 2024