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Mental health a priority to address suicide numbers

27 August 2011 MEDIA STATEMENT

Mental health a priority to address suicide numbers

The release of national suicide statistics by the Chief Coroner highlights the need for a focus on mental health issues, says Labour’s Associate Health (Mental Health) spokesperson Iain Lees-Galloway.

"The issues that lie behind suicides are complex, but we know for sure that mental health issues are present for many of those who tragically take their own lives,” Iain Lees-Galloway said

“Mental health should be a priority area of work in the health system, but sadly the National Government has created a narrow set of political targets that do not include mental health.

“District Health Boards respond to these targets, and we have seen a number of cuts to mental health services," Iain Lees-Galloway said.

"For example, in the Capital Coast District, WellLink, a key provider of support for mental health service users, has had its budget cut by a third this year.

“Most NGOs providing support services have had no funding increase in the last three years, which in the face of spiralling costs is effectively a significant funding cut," Iain Lees-Galloway said.

"We have also seen youth health services struggling to find support, and in the case of the 198 Youth Centre in Christchurch close up shop altogether.

"If John Key wants to act to reduce youth suicide he should instruct his Health Minister to re-visit his health targets, and make mental health the priority it should be," Iain Lees-Galloway said.


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