The World Health Organisation (WHO) defines mental health as a ‘state of well-being in which the individual realises his or her own abilities, can cope with the normal stressors of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to his or her own community’ (WHO 2001).
Te Rau Hinengaro: The New Zealand Mental Health Survey 2006 shows that; mental health disorders are common in NZ with 46.6% of the population predicted to meet criteria for a disorder at sometime in their lives, with 39.5% having already done so.
And almost 21% of the total population over 16 years old can expect to have a diagnosable mental health disorder over a 12 month period
Females have higher prevalence of anxiety disorder, major depression and eating disorders than males, whereas males have substantially higher prevalence for substance use disorders than females
Pacific people, and to a lesser extent Māori, are less likely than others to make contact for mental health reasons with services. For those with a disorder in the past 12months 25.4% of Pacific people, 32.5% of Maori and 41.1% of others made a mental health visit.
The Central Region Strategic Plan for the Development of Mental Health and Addiction Services identified that; the prevalence and the incidence of mental illness and addiction is higher in prisons than in the general population. A person is more likely to have pre-existing mental illness or addiction, and if not to develop one, if in the criminal justice system.