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MHF response to Budget investment in specialist mental health, addiction services

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

The Mental Health Foundation (MHF) welcomes the Government’s investment into specialist mental health services.

"These services exist to meet the needs of those New Zealanders experiencing the most severe mental illness," MHF chief executive Shaun Robinson says, "and they have been fighting budget cuts, staff shortages and other constraints on their ability to deliver quality care for too long."

Demand for mental health services has been increasing for some time, and it is critical that the Government continues to increase investment in quality mental health services to meet this demand.

The Foundation also welcomes an investment in the mental health workforce, which has been severely depleted and needs time to rebuild and strengthen.

"The flexible nature of this funding is realistic given the changing environment we are facing," Mr Robinson says. "Covid isn’t the only uncertainty in our lives, and communities need to be able to tailor their mental health services to meet the needs of their people."

However, the MHF continues to be disappointed about the lack of a clear, comprehensive and targeted plan to improve the mental health of New Zealanders, despite one being referenced in today’s media release from the Government.

"There is still no comprehensive plan for tackling mental health in New Zealand, despite He Ara Oranga clearly explaining the need for one," Mr Robinson says. "Without one, we continue to fund piecemeal parts of the puzzle, one service there, one clinic there, one pilot somewhere else, without a clear direction and without any goals, any targets, any accountability.

"A good mental health response is more than just beds in a mental health unit. We need to think about mental health holistically, we need to think about how to prevent mental health problems, about early intervention, about increasing wellbeing, about helping families and whanau to support their loved ones, about empowering community solutions - He Ara Oranga gave us the blueprint more than three years ago. Where is the plan?"

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