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Christmas Wish For A Caring Community

19 December 2000


A major provider of community mental health services says its Christmas Wish is for people to become more caring towards those who suffer ill health.

Richmond Fellowship, which provides specialised recovery services, says public attitudes to mental illness have become more supportive and it hopes this trend will continue. The Fellowship supports about 2000 people with major psychiatric dysfunction each year in residential and non-residential facilities, where the focus is on rehabilitation and independent living.

Chief Executive Dr Gerry Walmisley says a caring and open-minded community is essential to help people recover from mental illnesses. “At this time of year it is important to acknowledge the support that our clients have enjoyed, particularly from their neighbours, and to encourage others to extend a hand of friendship towards those who need support.

“Communities need to show that they care, and we believe that attitudes to mental illness are becoming more positive.

“We need to draw together the Government and the community to give people with mental illness decent accommodation, opportunities for real work and a place in society. This is where future planning for mental health services must lie and we can all contribute to it.”

Dr Walmisley says a key issue for the Fellowship in 2001 is the development of new services under the Government’s new District Health Board structure.

“Mental health has in the past been treated as the Cinderalla of the public health system, but there has been a significant turnaround through the efforts of the former Regional Health Authorities and the Government’s commitment to the Mental Health Blueprint.

“We hope that the District Health Boards will recognise the progress that’s been made in community-based mental health services, particularly by the non-governmental sector, and to allow these providers to continue development of the innovative, evidence-based services which have been such a feature of the community-based mental heath services over the past few years.”

ends

Further information: Dr Gerry Walmisley
Richmond Fellowship New Zealand
Phone 03 366 5156

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