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Alliance to Address Youth Suicide

One way to reduce the appalling incidence of youth suicide in New Zealand is to actually provide the funding to develop early intervention services and inpatient services for adolescents, says Alliance Leader Jim Anderton.

On Wednesday the Alliance is releasing its mental health policy as part of Mr Anderton's keynote address to a Mental Health Nursing Conference in Kumeu.

"The Alliance is the only party with a separate mental health policy. We will fully fund the mental health system to the levels recommended by Judge Ken Mason. Only then will it shake off its health system Cinderella image.

"It's time to stop talking about the shocking youth suicide statistics, and take action. It's about committing ourselves to the future mental health of this nation," Jim Anderton said.

The Alliance will introduce a range of new services for young people including:

· Establishing dedicated adolescent mental health crisis units with beds for children and young people.

· Increasing the number of multi-disciplinary teams

· Establishing an adolescent eating disorder service

· Trialling home-based psychiatric teams

· Establishing a service to treat adolescent anxiety and phobias

"If successive Governments had put money into services instead of into thousands and thousands of pages of reports outlining the problem, it could have saved some of the 140 or so young lives that are lost to us every year through suicide.

"New Zealand has heard enough talk. The Alliance is the only party ready with a plan of action. As part of the next Government, we intend to do something about these appalling statistics. We will seek to fully fund and implement the Mason Inquiry recommendations within three years," Jim Anderton said.


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