Promised spending on mental health fails to address neglect

Press Release – People’s Mental Health Review

ActionStation/People’s Mental Health Review: Promised spending on mental health fails to address years of neglectActionStation/People’s Mental Health Review: Promised spending on mental health fails to address years of neglect
Today’s announcements by Minister of Health Jonathan Coleman promise little to address the concerns raised by the People’s Mental Health Report.

Whilst the Government admits the problems highlighted by the Report – including a lack of funding and an over-strained mental health service – the response fails to address the deeper, systemic problems caused by years of neglect of the mental health system.

“The stories submitted to our review made it clear that essential mental health services need an urgent increase in funding along with a review of where those funds are spent,” says People’s Mental Health Report author Marianne Elliott, “and we are pleased that the Government has responded by acknowledging the problem. But the review also made it clear that money, without a comprehensive and independent review of mental health systems, won’t fix entrenched problems. 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.”

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.”

“This announcement seems like just more tinkering from a Minister who has failed to take seriously the concerns of people directly affected by many years of underfunding of mental health services. 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. “What is clear, is that throwing more money at a broken system isn’t going to fix the systemic problems that lead to chronic problems with accessing treatment, and our shockingly high suicide rate. Nothing in this announcement leads me to believe that the government is listening to the people.”

The People’s Mental Health Report will be presenting an open letter to the Government asking them to implement the recommendations of our review. The Open Letter will be delivered at 10.30am on Tuesday 9 May on the steps of Parliament. The Minister of Health, along with health spokespeople from all other parties, have been invited to the delivery.
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