Govt has achieved more for mental health than National ever did - campaigner

A mental health campaigner says the Government has achieved more in the last 100 days than National Party did in nine years.

On Tuesday Jacinda Ardern announced the Government's decision to open a mental health inquiry, a key election promise looking into mental health and addiction.

The inquiry has been criticised for the time it will take as well as its $6.5 million budget.

But Mike King told The AM Show the government will be criticised no matter what they do.

"Already the trolls are out… they're damned if they do and damned if they don't.

"But [the Government has] opened a can of worms and let's see what happens."

Last year suicide rates, particularly among youth, rose for the third year in a row - and calls for change have only been getting louder.

National Party leader Bill English told The AM Show on Tuesday inquiries "don't fix things".

"The Government's going to abolish those [Better Public Services] results - which is going to mean dumb, lazy public services - and start inquiries into how to improve them, instead of just focusing on doing a better job for people."

Health Minister David Clark also defended the plan, telling the show on Wednesday there will be changes - but they need to know what to change first.

"We know that it's broken. I know that as an MP, but we hear it every day from our constituents.

"The statistics internationally are shameful. We know we're not doing as well as we can be."

Mr Clark says he will "take very seriously" what the inquiry comes up with.

"We want to make sure the investment goes in the right place so I don't want to pre-empt the findings of the inquiry.

"As to what the priorities are beyond those things, we've already signalled the nurses in schools, mental health coordinators in primary care and lowering the cost of access to GP visits and the like."

The inquiry will be advised by a range of panels, including a lived experience panel and a youth advisory panel.

Money is also being set aside to engage with people through technology.

Mr King says his "big fear now" is people won't take the opportunity.

"Right now people think the inquiries are on and now they sit back and do nothing. They really need to get out and have their voice heard."

The inquiry is due to be wrapped up by the end of October.