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Our Ailing Mental Health System Must Be Overhauled

Barbara Stewart MP
Spokesperson for Health
29 November 2012

Our Ailing Mental Health System Must Be Overhauled

New Zealand First says the Government must introduce better assessment procedures to ensure ill people aren’t being discharged from Mental Health Units.

Health spokesperson Barbara Stewart says there is clearly a problem with the discharging of mental health patients who within days, and in some cases hours, commit acts of violence and other crimes.

“People’s lives are being put at risk but you can’t blame those suffering from mental illness.

“It is the Government who must shoulder responsibility for letting seriously unwell patients roam our neighbourhoods without adequate support.”

Mrs Stewart says the closure of mental health units in the 1960s-90s coincided in an increase in community care for people with mental health issues.

“District Health Boards now send people into the community rather than keeping them in mental health units.

“However, the standard of community care is often inadequate and unable to cope with the severity of some illnesses.

“The first step for a better mental health system is for the Government to recognise the problem and take action to better assess patients before they are released.

“New Zealand First will continue to pressure the Government for the introduction of more effective mental health release assessments,” says Mrs Stewart.


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