Mental health and addictions

The World Health Organisation has indicated that mental disorders are the leading cause of ill-health and disability worldwide. Mental illness and addictions impact people of all ages and backgrounds. In Aotearoa New Zealand, there is a particular emphasis on mental health, specifically around disproportionately high suicide rates especially for Māori. The coalition government’s initial response following election in 2017 was a general inquiry into Mental Health and Addiction (Paterson et al.)
Anecdotally, there have been a variety of reports around the failings of secondary mental health services in Aotearoa New Zealand with reports of embedded cultures of fear within staff teams (Yeoman & Savage, 2019).
There remain significant inequalities with mental health services and the availability of appropriate support to different sectors of the community. The public misunderstanding and stigma around mental illness remains apparent. There is also a drive towards primary care for the assessment and treatment of mental illness.

This special edition of the journal aims to capture new ideas, developments and critiques of practice in the mental health sector. It aims to analyse contemporary government policy and consider social and cultural co-determinants with regards to mental health, thus informing the effects of current policy action to promote mental wellbeing.
We are interested in reviewing articles that address public mental health understanding, or interventions that have helped to target mental disorders and promote mental health nationally and internationally.

We welcome articles focusing on public mental health issues such as: assessment tools and indicators, policy, availability and accessibility of mental health systems and services, socio-economic aspects, epidemiology of mental health and its co-morbidity, social determinants, inequalities and inequities, contribution of social sciences to public mental health, and current insights in prevention and promotion strategies.

We are also interested in new developments in mental health care since the mental health review, such as alternative or community mental health care. Specifically, following the outbreak of Covid-19, were there any areas of practice that you noticed that stood out for you, in terms of good (or not so good) practice?
The collection is open for submissions of systematic reviews, research, and commentary articles, which would undergo the journal’s normal peer review process.

Abstract submission - please submit a 150-200-word proposal outlining your topic, method (theoretical, quantitative, qualitative or mixed method), findings and conclusions. Send abstract to by 5 June 2020 if you would like initial feedback from the special issue editors. Don't hesitate to email us with any queries.

Submissions due 15 December 2020 – see journal guidelines for more info about how to register and submit online for our open access journal

Please contact Simon Lowe or Niall Allen for more info

Full articles due 15th December 2020 - please submit on line at
Publication date: March 2021

Paterson, R., Durie, M., Disley, B., Rangihuna, D., Tiatia-Seath, J., & Tualamali'i, J. He Ara Oranga: Report of the Government Inquiry into Mental Health and Addiction, 2018. The Government Inquiry into Mental Health and Addiction,: Wellingotn, New Zealand, 219.

Yeoman, S., & Savage, J. (2019). Embedded culture of fear' revealed in mental health and addiction services team at Bay of Plenty DHB. Bay of Plenty Times.