Kevin Hague
Mental Health Awareness Week

This week is Mental Health Awareness week. The culture around mental health in New Zealand has come leaps and bounds from where it was even five years ago. I congratulate everyone who has helped bring about this culture change and raise awareness about mental health issues, and I thank them for doing so.

However, this press release from the Ministry of Health is worrying.

The key message for World Suicide Prevention Day is that help is available to people who need it.

The release points us to thelowdown.co.nz, The Journal (with no URL) and the Depression Helpline.

That’s all you get.

They miss out and play down other wonderful services available to people with mental health problems, such as

They are also silent on how to access mental health services through your GP and DHB.

Mental health officials are urging people to seek help on Suicide Prevention Day. They say help is available for them and their loved ones but are they doing enough to help when all they promote is nothing except for a website?

There are also worrying signs that some of the progress previously hard won on mental health is being undone. I spoke in the House recently against the Government’s plan to roll the Mental Health Commission into the Health and Disability Commissioner’s office. There is clear evidence that DHBs are using money intended for mental health in other areas. Primary care referral to a Clinical Psychologist for free sessions is now only available for Maori, Pasifika and people with a Community Services Card. These services used to be for everyone, until the National Government cut them.

This Government needs to make a commitment to funding mental health services and promoting them adequately so that everyone can get the help they need and live happier lives.

6 thoughts on “Mental Health Awareness Week

  1. The increasing number of suicides happening all over the world really makes me sick.

    The government should really impose a strict law about this one.
    I am really bothered with a 13-year old boy who committed suicide last week in the Philippines.

    A law that punishes the parents of a minor kid who committed a suicide I think is a good idea.

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  2. SMA: Making suicide illegal is rather stupid idea. There should be support networks in place to help stop kids getting into that state of mind in the first place. We need a fence at the top of the cliff, not a literal ambulance.

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  3. All Health Issues the Brain registers are by definition ‘Mental Health’ problems. In Godzone, we face these things with a 15th century outlook.

    People who have not undergone extended severe pain (living in Parnell will do it!) will never comprehend the mercifull and humanitarian aspects of euthanasia – I guess there’s always just one more issue to face – just around the corner.

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  4. One of the most damaging problems for mental health patients is the apparent lack of ability for government departments to provide a flexible, tailored response to a particular patients’ needs.

    The response of Housing NZ for example tends to be very “formulaic” and inflexible. It doesn’t seem to matter if you have nowhere to live – they will just put you onto a list, force you to attend never ending meetings and assessments, and allow you to drift away in desperation and hopelessness.

    Then they forget you. You go back to living in a dirty, wet garage, or back out on the street.

    Same thing with WINZ and IRD – try to gain their understanding about what sort of tax plan/employment plan might be available to help you get back to some sort of productive working life or self employment and they will just put you through the mincer.

    There needs to be official recognition that housing policies and tax policies that work for “normal” people do not work well for people with psych issues.

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  5. A very sane friend of mine phoned last nite to discuss suicide at the end of her current term of employment – she’s over 60 and tired – can’t pay big city rents – would rather leave than try to scrabble for a living.
    Then there was the Sydney stockbroker who blew his head off because he got down to his last 19 million and figured he was broke!

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  6. That is quite an awareness, increasing suicide case makes it evident how the little children are being pressurised for something thats isn’t there age and when they can’t cope up they lead to this part, sad but govt’s actions must solve this.

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