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Mental Health & Addiction Services Funding Crisis

Mental Health & Addiction Services Funding Crisis


The funding crisis threatening the effective provision of NGO mental health and addiction services will be the main topic for debate by health spokespeople from all the main political parties at a public meeting in Penrose.

Organised by Navigate, the debate provides an opportunity for non-government mental health and addiction service providers and people who use their services to question the various political parties about their plans for the sector.

Navigate represents around 40 mental health and addiction NGOs in the greater Auckland and Northland region. Collectively they employ thousands of staff and each year NGOs provide services to more than 50,000 people experiencing mental illnesses and/or addictions.

Annette King (Labour), Kevin Hague (Greens), Barbara Stewart (NZ First), Laila Hare (Internet), Te Hira Paenga (Maori), Scott Simpson (National) and Colin Craig (Conservatives) have confirmed they will be attending the debate taking place in the One Tree Hill College Auditorium, 421-451 Great South Rd, Penrose 1062 between 7pm and 9pm on Monday July 28th.

Background

Almost half of all New Zealanders will experience a mental health disorder and/or addiction at some time in their lives with one in five people affected each year. Unsurprisingly, intervening early generally leads to better health and social outcomes for people afflicted by mental conditions, as it does in general health services.

New Zealand has had a strong, innovative NGO sector, well placed to respond to the needs of people with experience of mental illness and/or addictions. This has stood New Zealand in good stead as successive governments have promoted a shift to community and primary care, and, wherever possible, intervening earlier with lower cost solutions, rather than high cost specialist and hospital interventions.

Ironically as the call for this shift becomes louder and more pressing the sustainability of the NGO sector has been systematically eroded by District Health Boards. Contracts are rigid and littered with bureaucratic reporting requirements, the price DHBs pay NGOs for their services varies wildly around the country and worse still many DHBs refuse to pass on the annual inflationary adjuster they receive from Government intended for NGOs.

The increasing pressure on NGO mental health and addiction services to meet the rising need for their services from diminishing financial resources has prompted Platform, the national equivalent of Navigate, to launch the Fair Funding campaign to press for our political representatives to address the problem.
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