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Petition – national inquiry into mental health services.

Monday, 12 April 2017, 8 .30am


Petition – national inquiry into mental health services.

Many prominent people and organisations have now joined the call for a national inquiry into New Zealand’s mental health services as the system struggles to keep up with demand and faces more and more problems. District Health board members, Labour’s former health spokesperson Annette King, Julie Ann Genter from the Green party, The People’s Mental Health Review, PSA and many more.

With social media now the preferred medium of communication people are no longer isolated. Sharing our stories freely with others has exposed the many flaws in the system and showed the underbelly of mental health services that have left many dead and broken in the aftermath. The Life Matters Suicide Prevention Trust (LMSPT) gets many queries from people when the services won’t engage with them. Simply they are turned away from services when they are needed most at the crisis point and to prevent crisis there is little in place. Lack of resources such as beds and staff are major obstacles in getting appropriate care at the critical clinical moment.

Last year LMSPT chairwoman Corinda Taylor and 1740 others delivered a petition to the House of Representatives asking for a comprehensive independent nationwide inquiry into Mental Health services be conducted to determine whether the supply of current services meets demand and if future planning is adequate to meet future demand. Mrs Taylor has been invited to appear before the Health Committee to make an oral submission. She believes that this is a step in the right direction.
A Royal inquiry is what is needed to have voices heard of so many broken families begging for help from a mental health system heard. There are many that dare not speak up for fear that their care may be compromised. There are too many failures in mental health for us to ignore it any longer now.

Health Minister Jonathan Coleman has now repeatedly dismissed the need for a national inquiry, saying that more money was being spent and access to services was being improved. Most people will disagree that services was being improved.
Jonathan Coleman says more money is being spent and that access to services was being improved however that is not the reality of service users. An audit needs to be done to see where money is spent and if it is actually reaching the problem areas where it is most needed.

The reality is that people present at critical clinical moments which is when they most need help and when they will be susceptible to clinical intervention yet many a time they are deflected away to a later time and date. They may not be seen for days, weeks or months by a relevant clinician. In the most critical of cases which get the press attention this sort of delay has dire and sometimes fatal consequences. What is seen in the press is only the tip of the iceberg. Many other people feel let down and ignored where they have within the context of what they are able to do have made a superhuman effort to present at services with the problem that they have. They then wander away unsupported sometimes into the middle of the night feeling let down and rejected.

How effective has these funds been when the service user feels no impact? Ministry of Health Suicide Prevention plans are made but never any meaningful implementation takes place. To be told time and again by Jonathan Coleman that there is no problem with the system leaves many people without hope and workforce feeling disillusioned.

Paediatric mental health services especially with eating disorders is another neglected and ignored area leaving many families unsupported and isolated.

Unless we have a motivated healthcare system that strives for excellence we will continue to see high levels if not increasing suicides. A zero suicide in healthcare goal especially the mental health services is what should be targeting. Currently our mental health system does not deliver a service of expected standards – although we will admit that there are some good clinicians out there making a difference under dire circumstances.

ENDS

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