Minister of Health Dr David Clark and Associate Minister of Health Peeni Henare say this year’s World Mental Health Day theme is a reminder of why the Government’s work on mental health is so important.
“This year the World Federation for Mental Health has made suicide prevention the main theme of this important day,” David Clark said.
“This Government is committed to taking mental health seriously. We made a record $1.9 billion investment into mental health and addiction in Budget 2019 and have a range of actions underway to reduce New Zealand’s high rate of suicide.
“Last month we launched the new suicide prevention strategy and action plan (Every Life Matters), and we have established a Suicide Prevention Office.
“We’ve also allocated $40 million in funding through Budget 2019 to suicide prevention including counselling for those bereaved by suicide and tailored Māori and Pacific suicide prevention initiatives.
“There are no quick fixes, but we need to start with prevention. That means providing better access and choice of services for people where and when they need it,” David Clark said.
Minister Henare will be speaking today at the Auckland University of Technology’s annual World Mental Health Day event on the importance of including Māori in this work.
“The Ministry of Health has recently completed a series of hui Māori-ā-mōtu to ensure our people are involved in the development of kaupapa Māori lead and delivered mental health and addiction services,” Peeni Henare said.
“Māori and rangitahi continue to be over represented in mental health and addiction statistics. Not just in suicide, but in all aspects of the mental health and addiction system.
“For too long Māori have not been appropriately supported when it comes to mental health. We need to make sure we are providing services that are based on a partnership approach and pays respect to cultural identity.
“We need to keep the importance of helping those in mental distress at the forefront of all of our minds to address this.
“Whether it’s through mental health awareness week themes encouraging us to think about our own mental health and wellbeing, to engaging with the Ministry to help develop the new frontline mental health services, or Government making changes to legislation. We all have a role to play in mental health and addiction so we can strive towards a future where we no longer lose our loved ones to suicide,” Peeni Henare said.