Published: Thu, May 04, 2017
Health Care | By Jan Bell

Mental health crisis needs urgent action, not empty promises

Mental health crisis needs urgent action, not empty promises

A mental health problem can be just as disruptive and life altering as a physical illness and can take just as much time to treat and heal.

In comparison, the budget for mental health services has increased by 18 per cent since 2008, from $1.1 billion to $1.4 billion dollars.

The Health Minister said the country's mental health system of today "in general, is high quality" in the speech to the Health Quality & Safety Commission on Thursday.

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Participants will learn about a five-step action plan to help adolescents in both crisis and noncrisis situations; gain insight and basic knowledge into common mental health and addiction challenges; learn about connections to appropriate mental health and addiction services and support; strengthen skills and abilities on how to identify and reach out to adolescents in distress and crisis.

You can be proactive and help ensure that someone afflicted with a mental illness does not suffer alone. "While more funding is being promised, it's unclear how much, and if any new money is going to be spent." says Kyle MacDonald People's Mental Health Report spokesperson.

"There has been a 60% increase in mental health and addictions users since 2007 but funding has only increased by 28%", he says. The County's Behavioral Health Division (BHD) will launch a month long campaign created to foster conversations about mental health care, reducing stigma and breaking down barriers for individuals to seek support. "The Government hasn't listened to people who have tried to access mental health services in New Zealand nor those who work on the frontline of delivering those services".

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"If this signals that mental health services will only be targeted towards a small at-risk group, thousands of others will miss out".

Evolve manager Kirsten Smith said this week that young people are asking for help but "services across the board are unable to keep up with the level of demand". The primary focus is on how activities like compulsive sex, recreational drug use, obsessive Internet use, excessive spending, or a lack of exercise can contribute to or worsen mental health conditions, according to the press release.

The Minister seems to continue to be unwilling to acknowledge the extent of the problems with mental health services, stating "our mental health and addiction services are on a transformational journey".

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