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Support For Mental Health Frontline

Support For Mental Health Frontline

The week of 9th to 15th October recognises Mental Health Awareness Week, and it is also the launch of the South Auckland Health Foundation's Mental Health Scholarship programme to help enhance mental health support services in the Counties Manukau community.

The South Auckland Health Foundation administers various Health Scholarships in the Counties Manukau district. The Mental Health Scholarships, funded by Counties Manukau District Health Board, have specific criteria to focus on growing rates of mental illness. Above all, the scholarships seek to equip and support those who are most likely to be the first point of contact within the health system; those in the community working in primary care.

General Practice Liaison Manager, Dr John Cosgriff. says most often it is GPs who are in the position to recognise the symptoms of mental illnesses such as depression, anxiety and dementia in their patients.

"Supporting and educating these doctors is crucial. The South Auckland Health Foundation Mental Health Scholarships are just one way of meeting this need. GPs are a group who have immense impact on the treatment rates of people in New Zealand suffering from mental illness."

The World Health Organisation predicts that that by 2020 depression will be the second highest cause of disability in the world. Further studies undertaken by groups such as Auckland University and the MaGPie Research Group seem to confirm this sobering outlook. Counties Manukau District Health Board is taking an active stance in addressing findings.

Research suggests that rates of depressed patients in New Zealand general practices are almost certainly higher than has been previously measured and are similar to those found overseas. There was a higher rate of depression in those with a community services card, women and those who were divorced or separated compared with those who were married or in a de-facto relationship.

Last year six Counties Manukau people received CMDHB scholarships through the South Auckland Health Foundation in Mental Health.

The Foundation is a registered charitable trust that has been raising funds to enhance the services of CMDHB since 1999. This year there are further scholarships available for post graduate study of mental health to people working in primary care in Counties Manukau. For more information please see the South Auckland Health Foundation's website,


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