A report has ranked New Zealand first out of 15 Asia-Pacific countries for helping people with mental illness integrate successfully into communities.
The Economist Intelligence Unit report found tackling the stigma of mental illness was the key reason for New Zealand's success.
Former Mental Health Foundation chief executive Judi Clements contributed to the report.
She said New Zealand did well because it had moved care into the community, but more still needed to be done.
"We need to more strongly go towards a community-based model of delivery. We need to integrate those services that are provided at hospital level with those that are at community level," she said.
"The really important thing is that when people need help they know where to go, and it's easy to get it."
The report has been released as a mental health activist group, People's Review, campaigns for a government-backed national review of mental health services.
The group had collected the personal stories of 300 mental health patients that it said showed the system was in crisis.