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An Eight Week Wait For Mental Health Services Is A Disaster For Young Kiwis

“It’s crystal clear now that simply throwing more money at the problem doesn’t work,” says ACT Mental Health spokesperson Laura Trask in response to an RNZ investigation into youth mental health services.

“Labour pumped $2 billion into the mental health sector, and based on key performance metrics like wait times it seems to have disappeared into a black hole.”

“ACT believes in spending smarter, not harder. Instead of imposing Wellington-led plans on the entire sector, we should identify the local providers already doing a great job and ensure they have the resources to scale up.”

“Eight weeks for an initial appointment can mean eight weeks of misery and despair for individuals and families of those seeking assistance. Policymakers ought to be in a state of alarm that 12 percent of under-25s seeking their first appointment are made to wait that long. GPs and hospitals are not equipped to deal with masses of young people showing up with mental health issues, and a reliance on DHBs for mental health services should be seen as a failure of delivery.”

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“The Mental Health Minister’s proposal to set up a fund to directly resource non-government organisations is a good start, and he has ACT’s support. The flipside is that NGOs receiving funding need to be accountable on key metrics. We shouldn’t be afraid of withdrawing funding and re-allocating funding to different operators based on performance, facilitating choice and competition between New Zealand’s best-performing service providers.”

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