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Maori Mental Health

Marae.jpgThe Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists (RANZCP) prioritises the achievement of high quality mental health outcomes for Māori. It promotes and advocates for the rights of Māori to culturally appropriate, accessible and effective psychiatric care.

Our commitment to Māori mental health

This page provides information and resources to support mental health service delivery and appropriate assessment practices for Māori. They are intended for use by the Māori mental health workforce, as well as individuals, families and whānau.

Our Te Kaunihera mo ngā kaupapa Hauora Hinengaro Māori

Te Kaunihera mo ngā kaupapa Hauora Hinengaro Māori (Te Kaunihera) is a constituent committee of the RANZCP’s Practice, Policy and Partnerships Committee.

It provides the RANZCP with advice on issues relating to Māori, including clinical practice and psychiatry training, and advocates for the mental health of Māori. It also supports the recruitment of Māori doctors into psychiatry.

The committee is made up of Māori community members who have involvement in mental health service provision and policy development, as well as psychiatrists and trainees with direct experience of working in Māori mental health.

Cultural competency

Strengthening the cultural competency of the Māori mental health workforce in New Zealand is a key area of focus for the RANZCP.  

Assessment of cultural competence is included in the training of psychiatrists, as is an understanding of the role of Te Tiriti o Waitangi (the Treaty of Waitangi), and how its core principles of participation, partnership and protection should be integrated into mental health services.

A range of different organisations also produce resources which can help medical practicioners to build their cultural competency.

The Medical Council of New Zealand

The Medical Council of New Zealand (MCNZ) regulates the cultural competence criteria [PDF; 1 MB] which specialist medical education programmes must meet, and provides resources on cultural competence for its members.

The New Zealand Psychologists Board

The New Zealand Psychologists Board Core Competencies For the Practice of Psychology in New Zealand [PDF; 312 KB] contains useful information on cultural competency and applying the principles of the Tiriti o Waitangi in mental health service delivery.

Mauriora Health Education

The Mauriora website offers free and paid online training courses on cultural competence, Māori healthcare, and the Te Tiriti o Waitangi. It also has a course on Māori healthcare and the Te Tiriti o Waitangi for overseas-trained doctors. 

Please note that these online courses are not RANZCP endorsed or endorsed for RANZCP CPD points.

Clinical practice

RANZCP Clinical Practice Guidelines

The RANZCP’s Clinical Practice Guidelines (CPGs) are a suite of practical resources for psychiatrists and other mental health clinicians which draw on the latest international evidence-based practice. The CPGs provide guidance on appropriate mental health treatment options in Australia and New Zealand.

The RANZCP’s Mood Disorders CPG [PDF; 3.6 MB] and Eating Disorders CPG [PDF; 656 KB] , Schizophrenia and related disorders CPG [PDF; 2.24MB] and Deliberate Self-harm CPG [PDF; 1.39MB] all contain specific information on the assessment, diagnosis and treatment of Maori patients.

Community guides that accompany the CPGs above are in development and will be released in 2017.

Health strategy

The New Zealand Ministry of Health has produced a range of documents relating to Māori and mental health strategy.

Māori health strategy

Mental health strategy

Support and engagement with family and whānau

The RANZCP values the contribution that all people with lived experience of mental illness make to improving the quality of mental health care. Carers and the wider whānau (family) play a crucial role in supporting the treatment and recovery of Māori with mental illness, including creating an environment which is culturally safe.