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Raising Awareness about the Public Mental Health System

Raising Awareness about the Public Mental Health System

This week marks Mental Health Awareness Week, and today is World Mental Health Day. Hundreds of submissions coming into People’s Mental Health Review suggest the thing New Zealanders need to be aware of this week is that the Public Mental Health System in New Zealand is in crisis.

The People’s Review has now been collecting people’s experiences for four weeks, and will continue to do so until the end of November. In that time we have collected more than 300 submissions. Of those stories, 172 were from people who identified as clients or former clients of mental health services themselves, 92 from family members, and 41 stories were from people who identified as mental health professionals.

Today we publish the first selection of stories that represent the experiences of clients, family members, professionals and the general public: .

“We have a problem” says Kyle MacDonald, psychotherapist and People’s Review spokesperson “How can we, in good faith encourage people to be more aware of their mental health, to speak up and ask for help, if their is very little actual help available to send them to? At a time when we are encouraged to pause, learn more about good mental health and to be more aware of the impact that mental health issues have on New Zealanders, it feels impossible to overlook the growing problems being reported in all areas of our country's mental health services."

People's Review Campaign Director, ActionStation's Laura O’Connell Rapira says: “Our submissions are beginning to paint a picture of long wait times to access the appropriate treatment, of services stretched to breaking point, of families fear and frustration when their loved ones are at risk, and of professionals exhausted and burned out.”

“Great work is being done to educate the public, and reduce stigma in the area of mental health,” says MacDonald, “But this mental health awareness week there is only one conversation we should be having: how can we get our basic mental health treatment services available and functioning so all New Zealanders can once more know that when they or a family member needs help, it will be there. We believe the only way to achieve that is with a National Review of all Mental Health Services.”

The People’s Mental Health Review is collecting people’s submissions until the end of November, if you would like to share your experience, anonymously if you wish, see:





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