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Children's Mental Health - Action Urgent

Media Release
8 October 2003

Children's Mental Health - Action Urgent

“Social Services Minister Steve Maharey has received another wake-up call with regard to implementing the Agenda for Children, says Barbara Stewart MP, NZ First’s Social Services spokesperson.

“The Minister must have available to him the results of a recent CYF study which estimated that 20 percent of young people involved with the department have a serious mental health problem.

“The incidence of juvenile drug users is increasing, due in part to the industry growing up around P, and alcohol abuse is increasing since the lowering of the drinking age, said Mrs Stewart.

“Add to that children suffering from mental illnesses such as depression and we have a group which is very poorly served for treatment for mental health problems.”

“With just over 50 inpatient beds available for children and young people in hospitals throughout New Zealand to meet this burgeoning demand, and given the importance of treating children before their lives are permanently damaged by mental illness, these statistics should be all the prompting the Minister needs to take action, said Mrs Stewart.


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