Appalling lack of action from Govt as mental health call outs increase

The significant increase in calls involving a person having a mental health crisis, in distress or threatening suicide is exactly why the Mental Health Co-Response Service should never have been axed, National’s Mental Health spokesperson Matt Doocey says.

“This year police received almost 60,000 call outs related to mental health, compared to 46,000 calls in 2017.

“That’s a staggering increase of about 30 per cent since the Police were forced to axe the Mental Health Co-response proposal as the Labour Government reallocated its funding. The ground breaking new service was proposed to begin in Auckland, Christchurch and Palmerston North.

“In 2017 police secured $8 million from the National Government to trial a new service which would see a mental health worker attend all crisis calls with police and ambulance staff.

“The proposal was for the pilot to operate in three centres, seven days a week, 10 hours a day. It was expected to be up and running by September 2017.

“It is disgraceful that this year out of desperation the Wellington Police, with Wellington Free Ambulance and Coast and Capital DHB launched their own mental health co-response pilot out of their own stretched budgets and not from any new Government funding.

“This is a sensible programme making a real difference in the lives of New Zealanders, the Government needs to stop wasting time and get on with expanding the scheme.”