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Reassess resources for mental health services, says NZAC

Reassess resources for mental health services, says NZAC

Reassessing New Zealand’s mental health services from the ground up may alleviate increasing demand, says NZ Association of Counsellors Bev Weber.

Her comments follow delays experienced in accessing mental health services in the Nelson Marlborough Region due to providers’ inability to keep up with the demand.

An additional $240,000 was recently allocated to primary mental health services across the district, $167,000 of which was allocated to the Nelson region.

But Ms Weber says mental health services need increasing support as more and more people struggle to cope with depression.

“Nelson Bays Primary Health saw 752 people in the first six months of last year, but are only funded for 712 for the whole year,” she says.

“What happens for the rest of the year? How do we help more people with the same amount of funding?

“If mental health services and the support it provides are revaluated from the ground up, maybe there is a better way to resource the increasingly important care for those in need.”

Ms Weber says NZAC supports the decision of Nelson Marlborough Health to allocate additional funding to the existing primary mental health initiative, which refers people to contracted providers for counselling and therapy.

The additional funding will also be used for the brief intervention service which provides counselling support for those with mild to moderate mental health issues.

“It’s encouraging to see their commitment to continue to invest in more services to promote early intervention.”

While it’s a good start, Ms Weber believes more needs to be done, and soon.

According to the World Health Organization, unipolar depressive disorders will be the leading cause of the global burden of disease by 2030.

“The situation in the Nelson Marlborough region is just a small piece of the larger picture; implementing proper resources nationwide will save us trouble in the long term.”


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