The Mental Health Foundation has today released a position paper titled Time for Change – Addressing the Issues in New Zealand's Mental Health System in which we outline a ten point agenda for change.
New Zealand has made significant advances in its response to improving the mental health and wellbeing of its people, however, there are many areas in which we can and must do better. While some are calling for an inquiry into the mental health system, we consider this would not give us new insight and would divert funding, resources and attention away from the issues that need to be addressed.
We believe New Zealand must increase its efforts in promoting wellbeing and preventing mental health problems from occurring. We must also improve access to quality, effective support for people who are mentally unwell. To do this, we need to give people a range of support options, and to address the pressure points within mental health services.
It is disingenuous to simply treat the symptoms of mental health problems without addressing the causes of mental ill-health. It’s time for a joined-up community response to issues such as discrimination, misuse of alcohol and drugs, poverty, unemployment, child abuse and family violence. New Zealand has many advantages as a country, but these issues are significant barriers to progress toward a New Zealand where we can all live and function well.