Budget shows Mental Health not a Priority
25 May, 2017
Despite the concerns of many New Zealanders, the National Government's budget announced today only includes an incremental increase in funding for mental health services.
“The spending that has been allocated, via the Social Investment budget, is a small percentage of what is required” says People’s Mental Health Review spokesperson and Psychotherapist Kyle MacDonald. “Since 2008 funding increases for Mental Health represent a 28% increase in spending, despite a massive 60% increase in demand” he says.
“This budget allocates $25 million per year to core DHB services, which is only $1.25 million per DHB” says MacDonald. “What was announced today comes nowhere near addressing the ongoing shortfall in funding for our core public mental health system.”
“While the attention to mental health needs is encouraging, it shows a piecemeal approach without vision,” says Laura O’Connell Rapira, Co-Director of ActionStation.
“We support all efforts to prevent crisis and we agree with the Associate Health Minister Peter Dunne when he says that we need a social justice plan as much as we need a health plan, if we want all people in our country to have a fair chance at being healthy and well - in body and in mind,” says Ms O’Connell Rapira.
“This Budget was the Government’s opportunity to do both, and sadly it looks like they haven’t managed to do either,” she says.
“Budgets aren’t just about money,” says MacDonald. “They are an opportunity for the Government to lay out its priorities for the coming year, and demonstrate what it cares about”.
“This budget sends the clear message that our Government isn’t listening to the concerns of New Zealanders, and doesn’t care about mental health or our out of control suicide rate. These ongoing funding shortfalls equate to long waiting lists, and more preventable deaths.”
A recent survey, carried out by UMR, and released by the Public Service Association found that only one in ten New Zealanders believe that the Government is doing enough on Mental Health, and that there is very little difference in this view between supporters of National, Labour and the Green Party.