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Tenure of Mental Health CommissionExtended

The Mental Health Commission has been extended to 2015. The commission had been assigned the task of promoting mental health //awareness as well as advocating for the needs of the mentally ill and was set to finish next year.

In 1996 it was set up in response to the Mason Inquiry into Mental Health Services. They were helpful in developing a blueprint for improved services that the Government has been trying to meet.

According to Health Minister Pete Hodgson since its establishment there had been significant gains in the recognition and treatment of mental illness.

However he said work was far from over especially among the Maori, Pacific Island and young people who suffered in disproportionately high numbers than other groups.

He said, "The Mental Health Commission can play an important role in efforts to address this," and that some of the commission's functions could be revised to assist this.

Support of the mental health sector could also be accomplished through the implementation of the 2005-2015 mental health strategy.

Mr Hodgson said that legislation would be introduced to extend the commission's life.

The extension was welcomed by commission chairwoman Ruth Harrison and she also welcomed Mr Hodgson's appointment of former Ngai Tahu Development Corporation chief executive Ray Watson as a commission member.

Maori Party co-leader Tariana Turia also expressed her pleasure over the reprieve granted to the commission saying, "They have a unique ability to stand outside and give us the objective report card we need on mental health and well-being."


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