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Design workshop 2: Local Specialist Mental Health and Addiction Service

The design process for the Local Specialist Mental Health and Addiction Service is progressing well, with around 60 people from across the mental health and addiction sector attending the second workshop this week.  

It is great to witness the ongoing commitment to delivering an improved service for the communities we serve. Thank you to all of you who attended. 

At this week’s workshop, Phillippa Gaines gave a presentation on how Community Mental Health and Wellbeing Hubs could provide direct support for tāngata whaiora, avoiding the need for assessment and screening processes in Emergency Departments or MHAIDS services. As part of this, she emphasised the principle of co-design - any of the proposed integrated Hubs will be community-led and co-designed. 

While Community Mental Health and Wellbeing Hubs represent a separate project within the Community Mental Health and Addiction workstream, there is a strong relationship between the two. See our FAQ for more information about the differences between these two projects. 

Alicia Graham then presented on how data is being used to inform the Local Specialist Mental Health and Addiction Service. She outlined who our people are, where they live, and where referrals to Mental Health and Addiction Services come from, and shared data around health outcome metrics.  

Practical sessions then got underway, with the first focusing on ‘A Day in the Life’ of the Local Specialist Mental Health and Addiction Service. Groups were assigned either the proposed First Response, or the Mental Health and Wellbeing Service.  

They mapped out how the service and its functions would work in real life, and stress tested the new model using real life scenarios. They were invited to consider:  

  • What is the response of each function to the scenario? 

  • How will the response need to change at different times of the day/night or at weekends? 

  • What will be the staff working in the function be doing at different times of the day/night? 

The second session explored ‘curly issues’, with groups invited to identify and discuss the top five challenges for the new service, such as: 

  • How to deliver timely and responsive crisis support across the district, 24/7 

  • How do we sustain a critical mass of workforce while delivering a localised approach? 

  • How do we modernise the culture of our service? 

  • What happens when one locality is busier than another? 

  • How do we ensure that specialist staff are working at top of scope? 

The last session of the day focused on implementation approaches. Groups discussed the starting points for change, and what success would look like, through the metrics of:  

  • Population 

  • Consumer experience 

  • Value for money / resourcing 

  • Workforce satisfaction. 

Next week’s third and final design workshop will build on the themes discussed at the first two, with a strong focus on local service delivery.  

We are making great progress towards being able to articulate more clearly how a Local Specialist Mental Health and Addiction Service would look, and we are excited to share this design for consultation with you in April. 

We have worked to make sure we have representatives from across the sector. These will include many of your colleagues, who will be able to keep you informed and provide input on your behalf. If you have any questions, please reach out via

Last updated 17 March 2023.