Resources in the right place at the right time crucial to transforming NZ's mental health, NZAC says

Wednesday, 29 May 2019

Increasing access to publicly funded mental health services is crucial to addressing New Zealand’s wellbeing concerns, but where and when they are applied needs careful consideration.

That’s the message from the New Zealand Association of Counsellors, following the government’s response to the Mental Health and Addiction Inquiry report.

“Helping those who have mild to moderate and moderate to severe mental health and addiction needs is great,” says Association president, Bev Weber.

“But the government needs to ensure the right professionals are utilized in the right places at the right time to make the greatest difference for those in need.”

Ms Weber acknowledges there are no quick fixes for such a complex problem, but is delighted that 38 of the 40 recommendations have been accepted by the government.

Repealing and replacing the Mental Health Act is another good step, and she welcomes the news that government will establish an independent commission to provide leadership and oversight of mental health and addiction.

“[The commission] has to deliver practical, front-line services. It can’t just be another bureaucracy, so the devil is in the detail and we want to see real action.”

The inquiry estimated that specialist services should cater to 20 percent of the population who are estimated to have a mental health disorder each year.

“However, I do have some concerns about the other 80 percent of New Zealanders and their mental health needs who aren’t being catered for,” Ms Weber says.

“There is always work to be done to ensure everybody’s mental wellbeing is cared for.”

Ms Weber hopes the government’s announcement marks the continuation and improvement of crucial health services to New Zealanders.

“It’s really positive that this part of the process has been completed, this will be transformational for a lot of people.

“But the government cannot let up the momentum, they need to stay committed to helping New Zealand tackle its mental health issues.”