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Child and youth mental health need better funding

31 March 2008

Child and youth mental health services must be better funded

Green Party Mental Health Spokesperson Sue Bradford says that she is deeply saddened by the death of North Shore teenager Toran Henry, and is dismayed by the surrounding circumstances.

"While aspects of the situation are not yet clear, it is imperative that both education and mental health authorities fully investigate both the history of how Toran was treated by Marinoto, the Waitemata adolescent mental health unit, and by Takapuna Grammar.

"These investigations must be impartial, and have an ability to make recommendations for change.

"I am interested in whether Toran was being offered adequate care from the adolescent mental health unit, and whether ongoing under-resourcing of adolescent and mental health services may be a factor in this situation.

"Chronic underfunding in this area has been evident for years, and it is an indictment of our society that our health system appears to accept lower funding for children's and young peoples' mental health needs as a fact of life, rather than something that must be addressed as a priority."

"As a mother who has also lost a teenage son to mental illness my heart goes out to Maria Bradshaw and to all Toran's friends and family.

"My son also had problems during his school years, particularly at one Auckland school which simply kicked him out without going through any formal processes when they couldn't find a way of dealing with his mental health issues.

"It is tragic that at least some schools apparently continue to lack sensitivity to the real needs of students who are suffering from mental illness.

"Schools must acknowledge that bullying and violence have a disproportionate impact on such students - and may at times be perpetrated by such students - and do more to help both victims and persecutors.


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