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Survey Shows Psychiatrists In Aotearoa New Zealand Under More Pressure Than Ever

A recent survey, conducted by Tu Te Akaaka Roa – the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists (RANZCP) New Zealand National Committee, shows that specialist mental health and addiction services are currently under significant stress in Aotearoa.

The survey also asked psychiatrists to share solutions to improve outcomes for people living with mental health and addiction issues.

Associate Professor Susanna Every-Palmer, Chair of Tu Te Akaaka Roa, noted that ‘an initial analysis of results paints a stark picture of the pressure that mental health and addiction services are facing.

‘For example, 94% of respondents disagreed or strongly disagreed that the resourcing of inpatient and secondary mental health and addiction services is currently fit for purpose.

‘There is an almost unanimous sense from psychiatrists that demand for services and the complexity of people’s needs has increased over the past two years. At the same time, very few specialist services have seen an increase in staffing levels,’ added Associate Professor Every-Palmer.

’What is perhaps most concerning for the College and for our members, is that people cannot get access to mental health care at the time they need it.

‘One child and adolescent psychiatrist commented that there are young people with complex mental health problems and suicidal thoughts languishing on wait-lists for specialist care for seven months.

’While much of the data is sobering, one theme coming through is that staff are highly motivated to provide the best care possible. In many cases, this is being achieved through collaboration across the health workforce.

‘We acknowledge that the Government is committed to addressing mental health, illustrated for example by the recent release of Kia Manawanui Aotearoa: Long term pathway to mental wellbeing.

‘Tu Te Akaaka Roa looks forward to sharing our data on improvements that can be made to support the goals in Kia Manawanui.’

More information is provided in a Summary of Survey Findings Factsheet.

For all other expert mental health information visit Your Health in Mind, the RANZCP’s consumer health information website.

The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists is a membership organisation that prepares medical specialists in the field of psychiatry, supports and enhances clinical practice, advocates for people affected by mental illness and advises governments on mental health care. For information about our work, our members or our history, visit www.ranzcp.org.

If you or someone you know needs help, contact Lifeline NZ on 0800 543 354 or www.lifeline.org.nz or the Suicide Crisis Helpline on 0508 828 865 or www.lifeline.org.nz/suicide-prevention.

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