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Youth Services a Priority

28 May 2004

Youth Services a Priority for new Mental Health Funding

A major provider of community-based mental health services says additional Budget funding is an important opportunity to develop more services for young people.

Richmond Fellowship chief executive, Dr Gerry Walmisley, says New Zealand has become a pill popping society, even though the international research is clear that medications works best in conjunction with counselling and support.

“We applaud the allocation of an extra $250million for the Mental Health Blueprint, and look forward to working with the District Health Boards to target the areas of greatest need,” he said.

“Support for people under the age 18 is an area that needs more attention. We see great potential to develop services that can minimise the impact of a mental illness before people reach adulthood.”

“Around 20 per cent of the population is affected by a mental illness such as depression or anxiety. If we can develop services that manage these illnesses early on, without an over-dependence on medications, then we will help people to lead independent lives.

“There are other areas of need as well, including specialised services for the elderly, but the area of youth mental health is certainly one that deserves more attention.

"We’re delighted that the Mental Health Commission blueprint is continuing to receive Government support. It’s refreshing to see such an important document being supported in a bipartisan way.”

“The latest funding injection will enable District Health Boards to continue to plan ahead with certainty and look for new solutions. We would hope that much of the service development is through the non-governmental providers, which have shown they can deliver regional services that are effective and timely.”

ENDS

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