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“Mentally Ill” Clogging up Emergency Lines

22 January 2013


“Mentally Ill” Clogging up Emergency Lines

Supporting Families in Mental Illness New Zealand would like issue the following statement I relation to yesterday’s [21 Jan] Dominion Post article “Mentally Ill Clogging up Emergency Lines”:

“Supporting Families in Mental Illness is concerned that the comments attributed to Police in the Dominion Post article on the 'mentally ill' clogging up emergency lines trivialise the situation confronting many families and whanau.

We are not alone; Changing Minds NZ who work hard to remove the stigma and negativity facing the mentally ill views the article and its comments as irresponsible and harmful.

The Dominion Post and the Police, like the rest of society need to have empathy with people with mental illness, not demean them and use their reality as titillating media copy, in the process severely breaching their right to privacy.

To dismiss individuals with a mental illness as time wasters and to classify them as unworthy runs the serious risk of adopting a mindset that discriminates; potentially meaning a failure to respond to an individual's real emergency. It would seem from these comments that Police have learnt nothing from the tragedy suffered by Iraena Asher and her family.

SFNZ does not support discrimination based on this type of stereotyping and wishes to work alongside the Press and Police to ensure basic human rights of the mentally ill and their families/whanau are protected.”


Supporting Families in Mental Illness exists to enhance both the competence and resilience of families and whanau to meet the challenges of mental illness. With 21 branches across New Zealand we provide around 100 different services, and are actively supporting over 1,000 family members at any given time.

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