Tackling the mental health crisis head-on

By: Clayton Mitchell

Clayton Mitchell
New Zealand First MP

The mental health crisis which New Zealand faces has been building for years and has been below the radar for far too long.

Now it is out in the open. The statistics don’t lie, and they’re bad. Current data suggests one-in-five New Zealanders experience mental health and addiction challenges at any given time. This comes at huge social and economic cost.

The Government is committed to tackling the issues head-on. It is a complex issue and we know there is no one-size-fits-all solution. What is needed is a multi-agency approach and extensive work with local communities, iwi, and individuals with their own experiences to share.

The Wellbeing Budget 2019 saw the announcement of a record $1.9 billion investment in Mental Health.

It delivers on many of the recommendations contained in the Inquiry into Mental Health and Addiction, He Ara Oranga. At the heart of the response is a commitment to ensuring that all New Zealanders can access free mental health and addiction support that works for them, when and how they need it.

A new universal mental health services will be rolled out over five years, allowing for time to train more qualified mental health workers and build new facilities.

If we support people struggling with mental health or addiction issues, we make it easier for them to engage in education, employment and rehabilitation activities. It’s all about breaking the cycle.

This Government promised to be a transformational one. We will not shy away from doing all we can to make life better for all New Zealanders.