Labour has outlined a mental health policy:
Under Labour’s fresh approach to mental health services, we will establish a two-year pilot programme of primary mental health teams at eight sites across the country to work with GPs, PHOs, DHBs, and mental health NGOs. These sites will be selected to meet high needs populations, including Christchurch, which has seen a surge in mental health needs. The programme is expected to help nearly 40,000 people get the assistance they need for each year of the pilot. This will be an investment of $43m over two years, funded through Labour’s commitment to reversing National’s $1.7b of health cuts.
Mental health teams will be based on site with primary care providers, such as GPs, to offer free, accessible help for people with mental health issues before and after crises. Early intervention and continuing care will help people avoid significant mental health distress and assist them to live their lives fully.
Each mental health team will comprise mental health service co-ordinators, who will be doctors or other medical professionals. It will be their job to help people navigate the system and integrate the care from GPs, PHOs, NGOs, and DHBs, creating a sustained programme of care for each individual. This will mean patients will deal with the same health professionals throughout.
The programme will provide funding for:
- Increased capacity for GPs to conduct interventions and make appropriate referrals
- Mental health service co-ordinators to be based with primary care providers
- NGOs to provide social assistance such as help getting a job or finding somewhere to live
- Increased access to counselling
- Coordinators to facilitate shared care between GPs and DHBs
A full review of the pilot will be taken after two years with a view to rolling out the programme nationwide over time.
Good stuff! Compare and contrast with National’s systematic under-funding of mental health, and their arrogant response to the issue:
Jonathan Coleman’s attack on ‘anti-government’ ActionStation is a smokescreen. And it’s nonsense
The minister of health has dismissed a report on mental health claiming the authors are ‘left-wing anti-government protesters’. ActionStation’s Marianne Elliott responds.
You know the saying: ‘Don’t shoot the messenger’?
Well, the message is that New Zealanders are deeply concerned about the state of our mental health system, and heartbroken about the family and friends we lose to suicide every year. We’re just the messengers.
The “we” in that sentence is the ActionStation community of everyday New Zealanders, hundreds of whom shared their stories with the People’s Mental Health Review, and 12,800 more who added their names to an open letter asking the government to consider the findings of that review.
So when the minister of health, Dr Jonathan Coleman, dismissed the recommendations of the People’s Mental Health Report on Tuesday because “the people behind the report” were “left-wing anti-government protesters”, that is who he was dismissing.
Attacking the messenger is a classic diversionary tactic when you don’t want to face up to the message itself. But in this case the issue is too important for mud slinging. People are dying. If deaths by suicides continue at the rate they were reported last year, four people will have died by suicide since Coleman responded to our open letter with an attack on the people behind it on Tuesday. …
Read on for plenty more. And vote these heartless Nats out in September!
Coverage of the Labour announcement:
Labour wants mental health teams within GP practices, free appointments for mental health issues
Labour would spend $43m on mental health teams
Mental health consults at the GP free under Labour, Andrew Little announces
Labour promises new mental health programme to create ‘front door’ to services
— Andrew Little (@AndrewLittleMP) May 11, 2017