The Government’s continued denial of a mental health crisis casts a shadow over today’s mental health funding announcement, says YesWeCare.nz.
Prime Minister Bill English announced extra funding on Three’s AM Show this morning.
English gave no details of the increase while ruling out an independent review.
YesWeCare.nz campaign coordinator Simon Oosterman says the announcement was more about politics than health.
“The Government wants to be seen as taking action, but in real terms they’re offering money they cut from mental health since 2009,” he says. “We urgently need to back-fill funding and match today and tomorrow’s need, but money on its own isn’t enough.”
“We need an independent review to identify how much we need, where those funds are best spent and what systemic failures allowed the crisis to develop.”
English told the AM Show the Government “can always do more”.
But Oosterman says this Government “has always done less” and have knowingly underfunded health by more than $1.85 billion.
“Funding hasn’t kept up with our growing and ageing population and increased mental health needs,” he says. “This is why people threatening suicide aren’t seen as urgent and nine in 10 mental health workers feel under-resourced.”
Oosterman says returning funding we needed eight years ago isn’t going to help the Kiwis who needlessly suffered in that time.
“It certainly won’t help the record number of people suspected of committing suicide while in mental health care in that time,” he says.
YesWeCare.nz Campaign Coordinator Simon Oosterman is available for interview on 027 526 8704.