Mother of suicide victim slams Government prevention plan as 'spineless'

Seven years ago, Patrice Harrex's son Brad turned up at Dunedin Hospital's emergency department and told them he was planning to take his own life.

He was sent home and two days later, he was dead. 

Her son's suicide inspired Ms Harrex to become a mental health worker and today, she delivered a Public Service Associations submission on the Government's Suicide Prevention Strategy.

She calls it "spineless". 

"The Government isn't acknowledging how desperate a situation this is," she says. 

Figures obtained by Newshub support Harrex's view. 

The number of people turning up to Emergency Departments in a state of mental health crisis has almost tripled over the past eight years.

In 2008, just over 3000 people in crisis were seen by emergency departments across the country. Last year, that number grew to more than 8500 - an increase of 185 percent. 

The number of mental health service users who returned to the Emergency Department within a month last year was 43,761 - that's 13,000 more than in 2011. 

Back then, mental mealth service users made up 15 percent of all ED re-attendances; last year, it was closer to 20 percent.  

Labour leader Andrew Little said today that those turning up to Emergency Department "are in crisis". 

"They need immediate attention and they need a safe environment and the DHBS are struggling, are stretched and they can't provide it." 

Ms Harrex says the Government needs to "stop undervaluing our loved ones who are dying". 

She hopes her submission will change the Government's stance.