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Mental health inquiry a unique opportunity, let’s take it


23 January 2018

Mental health inquiry a unique opportunity, let’s take it

The key groups calling for an inquiry into our mental health system welcome today’s announcement says the YesWeCare.nz health funding coalition.

The Government will announce the details of an Independent Mental Health Inquiry after 4 pm today in Wellington.

Bereaved Whānau Network spokesperson Jane Stevens, who lost her son Nicky to suicide in 2015, says real change starts with real people’s voices being heard.

“The success of the inquiry will depend on the broad participation of those directly affected by our mental health crisis and suicide and sustained political pressure and momentum to ensure lasting change,” Stevens says.

ActionStation’s People’s Mental Health Review spokesperson Kyle MacDonald says the inquiry is a rare opportunity for Kiwi's voices to be heard.

“So many people struggle to access the help they need, when they need it,” MacDonald says. “The inquiry needs to clearly outline practical solutions that make the right help available.”

Life Matters Suicide Prevention Trust spokesperson Corinda Taylor who lost her twenty-year-old son to suicide says the coalition’s goal is to ensure people feel safe and supported to take part.

“People who have been silenced, stigmatised and marginalised will need support to speak out,” Taylor says. “We need to make the change needed so other families don’t go through what my family and others have gone through.”

Public Service Association national secretary Erin Polaczuk says the union will continue to work with coalition partners and community groups to build a platform to achieve lasting change.

“Mental health demand increased by more than 60% since the last Government came to power in 2008, but funding has been for less than half of what’s needed,” Polaczuk says. “It took the people using and working in mental health services standing together to achieve this goal, and it will take our continued effort to ensure mental health workers get the funding and resources they need to serve our communities..”

Maternal Care Action Group spokesperson and mum Kristina Paterson says everyone can volunteer in the coalition’s campaign and the support of those not directly impacted is critical.

“The thousands of mums and babies affected by perinatal depression* due to delayed diagnosis and treatment need your help,” Paterson says. “This is our moment, help us and be a part of it.”

The public can sign up to the campaign, volunteer and donate at YesWeCare.nz.

ENDS

For editors

YesWeCare.nz is a new health coalition of health service users and their whanau, people bereaved by suicide, community groups and people working in health and their unions.

The coalition and its members’ campaigns were key to making mental health a key election issue. In the lead up to the election, the health coalition collected more than 150,000 petition signatures, shared a thousand personal stories, took 606 shoes across New Zealand, each representing a kiwi lost to suicide, and got a commitment for an inquiry from every party except National and Act.

• Life Matters Suicide Prevention Trust ran the first petition calling for an inquiry into our mental health crisis in November 2016. The trust’s latest petition has 85,000 signatures. (http://goo.gl/inb23U).

• Hana Ready and YesWeCare.nz’s petition calling for an inquiry after Mrs Ready’s 15-year-old took her life, has 56,000 signatures (http://change.org/mydaughter/)

• The People’s Mental Health Report calling for an inquiry collected 500 stories and made four recommendations was signed by more than 10,000 Kiwis including prominent New Zealanders (https://www.peoplesmentalhealthreport.com/)

• The Bereaved Whanau Network and the Public Service Association took 600 pairs of shoes, each representing a Kiwi lost in the last year to suicide across New Zealand, in the lead up to the election.

YesWeCare.nz shared a further 500 stories in the media in the lead up to the election.

* Perinatal depression relates to pre and post birth.

ends

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