Calls for nationwide enquiry into mental health system

  • 24/04/2016
Calls for nationwide enquiry into mental health system

There are calls for a nationwide enquiry into the mental health system after more Kiwis lost their lives to suicide last year than ever before.

The New Zealand Association of Psychotherapists (NZAP) gathered in Hawke's Bay this week to discuss the impact of the recent suicides on local iwi.

NZAP spokesman Kyle MacDonald says what they heard from those iwi is that the mental health system is at breaking point and can no longer provide timely treatment and intervention.

"Staff are under increasing pressure as demand for services continues to rise and resources are unable to meet that demand. And sadly this increasingly leads to preventable deaths."

It follows the release of a report by the Director of Mental Health this week, prompted by the suicide of a man while under the care of the Waikato District Health Board.

The report also pointed to a number of shortcomings in staffing and resourcing, and Mr MacDonald believes it shows a total underestimation of New Zealand's battle with mental health.

"Mental illness is third only to heart disease and vascular disorders when it comes to negative health effects in New Zealand, yet this Government continues to underfund the health system and ignore the fact our levels of mental illness and suicide globally, are among the highest."

"I believe we've reached the point where funding alone will not solve the problem."