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Mental Health services "systemically dangerous"

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New Zealand state funded Mental Health services "now systemically dangerous to clients" says Counsellor

The state funded New Zealand Mental Health services have now become "systemically dangerous" to clients and consumers seeking crisis and community mental health services, and families who have loved ones in need of such services need to be aware of this crisis, says Steve Taylor, Director of 24-7 Ltd, a Private Practice Counselling and Mental Health intervention service in Auckland.

"I have experienced mental health clients in crisis that our office has worked with who cannot even seem to secure the most fundamental of state funded mental health services, such as formal psychiatric diagnosis, competent risk assessment, and respite. Even raising Mental Health Crisis team services is fraught with difficulty, with calls often switching to answerphones, or Crisis Team personnel almost deliberately working against the best interests of families and clients in need, by choosing not to attend incidents when clearly their is a need to do so" says Mr Taylor

"It seems that there is an all-pervading systemic ideology within New Zealand state funded mental health services that mental health clients in crisis can always be treated in the community, and that despite a family or a professional external to the state having sufficient history and experience of a client that warrants appropriate psychiatric intervention, these knowledgeable parties are dismissed by a state funded mental health system that says "we know best, regardless of any evidence to the contrary" says Mr Taylor.

Such ideology is both erroneous and dangerous. Erroneous because one size does not fit all when working with mental health clients, and dangerous because mental health clients in crisis are placed at even greater risk of harm due to their condition being minimised, rationalised, misdiagnosed, or even ignored by state funded mental health services personnel".

"As a tertiary qualified and experienced professional who has worked with mental health clients in both a public and private capacity, I have experienced this dynamic as being particularly prevalent with Psychiatric Liaison Teams that are attached to public hospitals. Psychiatric Liaison Teams are the first port of call for a family and client in crisis - and frankly, I am of the opinion that the decisions made by anonymous members of these "teams" are leading to the unnecessary increase in risk for clients and even deaths of clients through both minimisation and ignorance of a clients presenting condition and appropriate intervention being practiced by such teams" says Mr Taylor.

"I believe that the recent report on state funded organisations such as ADHB Mental Health unit Te Whetu Tawera ( http://www.nzherald.co.nz/author/story.cfm?a_id=110&objectid=10493718) and their reported woefully inadequate interventions with mental health clients is the tip of a very large iceberg within New Zealand Mental Health Services, and unfortunately for New Zealand families, this iceberg has the potential to forever sink their loved ones in crisis" says Mr Taylor.

"Our state funded mental health system is having a crisis of its own, which is less about resources, and more about world view - mad ideas lead to bad consequences, and these consequences are now spilling out onto some of the most vulnerable of our citizens in need" says Mr Taylor.

ENDS


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