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Major Progress Made In Mental Health - More Coming

MAJOR PROGRESS MADE IN MENTAL HEALTH - MORE TO COME

"The Mental Health Commission's stock take of progress on improving mental health services reveals just how far we've come in the past five years," Health Minister Wyatt Creech said today.

"It is refreshing to see an acknowledgement that there has been dramatic change in mental health services since the National Mental Health Strategy was launched in 1994.

"The report notes significant growth in most of the priority areas, and that it is continuing. Services have improved across the board - for Maori, for young people, and in community mental health. There's better collaboration and co- ordination and more workforce training.

"Since 1994 an extra $300 million has gone in specifically to implement the Strategy. I am very pleased to see the substantial investment we are making in mental health is paying off.

"The 75% increase in spending on mental health services, the 22% increase in the number of psychiatrists, the 53% increase in the number of community health workers are all positives for those with mental illness, their families and the people working with them.

"We are half way through the strategy and further work will be done to build on these gains. The Government is committed to keeping the momentum and has made mental health one of our 12 key health goals in the Medium Term Strategy for health.

"There will be more work on access, effectiveness and quality of care particularly through promoting closer co-operation among providers, encouraging community based planning and development and delivery of mental health services.




"Key areas for progress include Maori mental health, Pacific peoples' mental health and child and youth services. The health sector also needs to lead progress in strengthening the mental health workforce by promoting training and effective recruitment and retention practices.

"The Mental Health Commission's stock take will help keep the focus on achieving our goals and getting better services. Health officials will continue to work in more detail with the Commission on the way forward."

ENDS

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