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National Promises ‘Zero Suicides’ Strategy, Mental Health Minister

Sep 28, 2020
268 Views

National would bring in a zero suicides strategy and install New Zealand’s first minister for mental health if elected.

The party’s health spokesperson Shane Reti and mental health spokesperson Matt Doocey announced the party’s mental health strategy in Christchurch this morning.

With $179m of additional spending, the party would:

  • Establish New Zealand’s first minister for mental health – $2m
  • Provide an integrated network of mental health services through a ‘national stepped care approach’ for commissioning and delivering services – $2m
  • Establish a mental health support package for small and medium businesses – $10m
  • Invest in a contestable fund to establish free psychological first aid training – $10m
  • Maternity support: introduce funding to allow a woman experiencing postnatal symptoms to visit their GP, allowing time to talk through symptoms and be assessed and referred – $10m
  • Urgently fund 100,000 free Covid-19 counselling sessions – $11m
  • National mental health campaign providing online resources and scaling up the ‘It’s Alright’ campaign from after the Canterbury earthquakes – $12m
  • Mental wellbeing and suicide prevention workshops in rural communities – $16m
  • Commit to a nationwide ‘Zero Suicides’ comprehensive multi-sector suicide prevention strategy similar to Australia, the United States and the United Kingdom – $40m
  • Require primary, intermediate and secondary schools to deliver a skills-based mental health and resilience training program, with a focus on cyberbullying
  • Fund a new, fit for purpose baseline study of children and young people to understand the context and conditions underpinning the mental health of New Zealand’s youth – $3m
  • Strengthen frontline services with a primary care navigator in every General Practice (already announced in the party’s health policy)
  • Methamphetamine addiction treatment – $63m

In a statement, Doocey said mental health was just as important as physical health.

“Labour promised big on mental health but have failed to deliver, only being able to spend 7 percent of the funding they announced for mental health and only equipping four percent of general practitioners with new frontline services,” he said.

Dr Reti said New Zealanders deserve world class mental health care.

“This is in line with National’s core health focus of delivering frontline services sooner so New Zealanders can access high quality services no matter where they live or who they are.”

Source: rnz.co.nz Republished by arrangement.

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