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Where are the answers on mental health crisis?

28 April 2006

Where are the answers on mental health crisis?

For too long some people with acute mental illnesses have wound up on the streets or in prisons rather than receiving proper care and treatment, the Green Party says.

Mental Health Spokesperson Sue Bradford says the Mental Health Commission's Acute Crisis report has raised some very real concerns.

"The report advocates for more and better community care for people in the acute phases of mental illness as one solution. However, I believe that is not the whole answer. We must continue to do more to improve access to quality acute services for all who need them," she says.

"From working in this area for many years it is clear that the country's DHBs should not be ring-fencing and holding back their mental health funding.

"We are critically short of adequate acute care facilities. This gaping hole in the system is threatening the lives of those who are in urgent need of help and the friends and families.

"For too long now some of those with serious mental health issues have ended up in prisons and on the streets instead of getting the healthcare they need when they need it.

"Families too have been left to cope in potentially life-threatening situations because the help that is needed simply is not there - sometimes with disastrous outcomes. This is just unacceptable," Ms Bradford says.

"Money should be going into a diverse mental health system and this includes well-funded acute care units where those in need can get the care they deserve.

"More funding should also go to better wages and conditions for mental health workers so that the services can attract and retain good staff. Working conditions in some units continue to be well-below standard," Ms Bradford says.


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