Govt reviewing itself on mental health is a sham

The Government claiming it’s on track to deliver its mental health promises is a kick in the guts to all those New Zealanders desperate for mental health support and can’t access it, National’s Mental Health and Suicide Prevention spokesperson Matt Doocey says.

“Finance Minister Grant Robertson’s claim that ‘strong progress’ is being made in mental health is exactly why the Government shouldn’t be able to review itself. It’s an insult to those Kiwis who are stuck on waiting lists that have ballooned out over the past four years under Labour.

“For instance the Government has touted the rollout of Integrated Primary Mental Health and Addiction Services as a success. But when you look at the numbers, it’s taken two years to roll the services out to 15 per cent of New Zealand’s GP sites.

“If that’s a success then the Government has set itself a pretty low bar.

“Labour promised $25 million for mental health services in tertiary education and 15 months on not a single dollar has been spent, not one new service has been delivered and not one young person has been seen.

“The rollout of inpatient mental health facilities is occurring at a glacial pace. The promise of free counselling for 18-25 year olds is two years old but still isn’t available for young Kiwis outside of Wellington.

“This is why the Government shouldn’t be reviewing itself. Instead, National believes the Productivity Commission, as an independent body, should undertake a review of mental health funding and report on the following:

  1. Effectiveness of current government mental health policies and programs in improving mental health and suicide prevention.

  2. Assessment of current government funding in mental health for value for money and the best outcomes for individuals, their families, and the community.

  3. A proposed evaluation framework to measure and report the outcomes of government mental health policies, programs and funding.

  4. Examine how a cross government approach beyond health, including education, employment, social services, housing and justice, can contribute to improving mental health and suicide prevention.

“This review will investigate the effectiveness of the Governments mental health funding and propose a framework for measuring the outcomes of its mental health programs.

“If the Government refuses to do this, National commits to tasking the Productivity Commission to undertake a report into mental health when back in Government.”