Press Release

With issues effecting mental health and addictions service-users in the spotlight as we approach this year’s general election, a consumer organization based in Canterbury has asked local candidates for their parties’ views on key concerns for the mental health and addictions communities. “Proposed policies around education, health and welfare which the parties standing for election are advocating for are all very relevant to consumers and could make an immense difference to our experiences of using services” comments Kelly Pope, a member of the network.

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Liann Dalziel has replied to our questionaire, a little late to be included in the press release, as follows:

1. Where does your party stand on the question of whether the ring-fence in mental health funding should be maintained?
Labour will re-instate the ring-fence for mental health funding. It is important that we not only focus on delivering services to those most in need, but also on preventing future demand through early intervention, support for those with lower acuity illness to be able to self-manage, and a public health approach to maintaining mental wellbeing.

2. Where does your party stand on the reduction and elimination of seclusion?
Labour currently agrees with the Ministry of Health guidelines on seclusion which set out to over time, limit the use of seclusion and restraint on mental health patients. However we would be willing to discuss this issue with Awareness Canterbury and would consider reviewing these guidelines in the future.

3. As health is presently population funded and Canterbury’s population has decreased due to the earthquakes, how would your party ensure mental health and addictions services are able to meet the increased needs of the Canterbury population since the earthquakes?
Providing services for New Zealanders experiencing poor mental health and working to maintain mental wellbeing throughout the population are both of heightened significance at this time. During a period of economic instability coupled with a series of disasters, demand on mental health services inevitably increases. Globally, the incidence of depression and anxiety is increasing.

Labour acknowledges the importance of mental health and will restore it as a health priority for District Health Boards. We will require District Health Boards to set appropriate targets for the restoration and enhancement of mental health services.

4. Where does your party get mental health information and advice from, and would you like to open a discussion with us?
Labour receives mental health information and advice from a diverse group of people in the sector including consumers, health professionals and interest groups. We are always open to discussing issues and would be happy to meet with Awareness Canterbury.