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Mental health crisis: "The government is in denial"

Mental health crisis: "The government is in denial"

Source: PSA

EMBARGOED UNTIL 3:00pm, Wednesday 19 April 2017


The government is in wilful denial about the mental health crisis, the health coalition says.

The People's Mental Health Review has released its report today, which calls for an urgent funding increase and inquiry, independent oversight and more education.

The report reinforces a recent survey of 6,000 health workers, which found nine in 10 believe they don't have the staff or resources to deliver the care Kiwis need when they need it.

The coalition supports the report and says it's clear the $1.85 billion of government health underfunding is to blame.

"There is unprecedented agreement between families, patients and the workforce that mental health services are broken," campaign organiser Simon Oosterman says.

"It simply isn’t credible for the Government to say everything is hunky-dory."

"When the Government plays politics with health, people suffer - and in the case of mental health, people die."

Oosterman says there were 535 suspected suicides in mental health care in the last four years.

"MidCentral DHB has just announced it will close much needed youth mental health services.

"Two DHBs have had to close mental health beds due to safe-staffing concerns.

"The Government is fully aware they haven’t funded health properly.

"When funding doesn't keep up with our ageing and growing population, with increased mental health needs, Kiwis miss out."

Oosterman says the level of concern around mental health services are reaching the same height as the mid 1990s.

"The Mason inquiry led to the establishment of the Mental Health Commission," he says.

"It’s important we don't forget it was this Government which disestablished the Mental Health commission in 2012."


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