Now the report of the inquiry into Mental Health and Addiction has been released the Government needs to prioritise the sector and provide increased support for the mental health of New Zealanders, National’s Mental Health spokesperson Matt Doocey says.
“The inquiry recommends a cross-government approach to mental health, increases in access and a focus on more prevention and early intervention. These were all provided for in our $100 million fund which should have been supporting New Zealanders’ mental health for almost a year.
“Unfortunately, our initiatives which included e-therapy, telehealth, increased mental health provision in schools, and a co-response pilot to improve the response to mental health incidents were scrapped by this Government whose report now supports them.
“The report also recommends a cross-party working group on mental health. Yet when National reached out to create a cross-party working group on mental health earlier this year the opportunity was rejected by all Government parties.
“The Government has set back progress by at least a year and a half, and in the meantime, the mental health of New Zealanders is getting worse, not better. After an entire year, this report is finally done. Now is the time for the Health Minister to take some action.
“We don’t think that New Zealanders should have to wait till March next year to hear about the Government’s response to this report – one which would take a further six months to fund and implement.
“With the Government periodically doling out a $3 billion regional slush fund surely it can prioritise funding to support the mental health of New Zealanders now.”