Government runs the risk of meaningless mental health platitudes


Government runs the risk of meaningless mental health platitudes

Media Release from the New Zealand Association of Counsellors
1 minute to Read
Unfiltered May 2022

Despite the coalition Government’s innovation in establishing the first mental health portfolio, the Associate Health Minister’s parliamentary answers do not fill the NZ Association of Counsellors with much confidence for the future of Kiwis’ wellbeing.

Hon Casey Costello was asked, on behalf of the Mental Health Minister, about suspected suicide and the disparity between Māori males aged 25-44 years, compared to non-Māori males.

However, her answers lacked substance, which is worrying, NZAC President Sarah Maindonald says.
“I can appreciate that Question Time in Parliament might not be the most appropriate venue for the Minister to provide the public and other MPs with a detailed plan and response to mental health and wellbeing,” says Maindonald.

“But it is extremely worrying that the Minister is using similar meaningless platitudes: ‘focused on improving access to mental health’, ‘committed to reducing suicide rates in New Zealand’.

“I hope both the Health and Mental Health Ministers consider the well-written He Ara Oranga report when determining the Mental Health and Wellbeing Strategy and Suicide Prevention Action Plan.

“That is as close to a well-supported blueprint one could hope for in addressing our poor mental health system and developing policies that provide a fence at the top of that cliff, rather than an ambulance at the bottom.

“Meanwhile, wait lists for counsellors continue to be months long, meaning we risk escalating the mental health crisis.”