MHF statement on Government funding for new mental health facility

9 Aug, 2018

The Mental Health Foundation is supportive of the news of a new, national mental health unit at Rātonga-Rua-O-Porirua today, but is more encouraged by the Minister of Health’s comments that suggest more mental health initiatives will follow the conclusion of the Mental Health Inquiry.

“We welcome any investment into the mental health of New Zealanders,” Mental Health Foundation (MHF) chief executive Shaun Robinson says. “There are a small number of people who need sustained medical support to recover from significant mental health challenges and we’re pleased to see the government recognising this need and working to meet it.”

However, the MHFadvises that this announcement will not make a material difference to the mental health needs of most New Zealanders, and hopes to see greater investment in early interventions, crisis services, and prevention and wellbeing initiatives to ensure all New Zealanders have the best possible chance to enjoy good mental health and wellbeing.

“Good mental health services are not about beds in hospitals,” Mr Robinson says. “The large majority of people who experience mental health problems are best supported and cared for in their communities. The earlier people get support and the more that support considers their whānau, housing, workplaces and real lives in the community, the better.”

Today’s service announcement is a small piece is a very large jigsaw of change that is needed to build Kiwis’ mental wellbeing. The Foundation continues to look towards a significant shake up in New Zealand’s response to mental health following the conclusion of the Mental Health Inquiry in October.

“We are encouraged that the Prime Minister and Minister of Health indicated that more is to come,” Mr Robinson says.

The MHF advocates for:

  • Increased investment in wellbeing and prevention of mental health issues
  • Easier access to talk-therapies and other early intervention services
  • Better training for GPs and other primary healthcare providers to enable them to identify the mental health needs of their patients and respond appropriately
  • Services that are community based and recovery focused that include and value whanau, family and cultural needs
  • Integrated and improved crisis responses that lead with compassion and enable individuals to receive high-quality crisis support whenever they need it
  • Addressing the drivers of poor mental health such as poverty, family violence, bullying and the impacts of colonization.

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