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Coleman’s cuts create crisis

Mental health services in New Zealand are in a state of crisis with Youthline saying that calls for extreme depression doubled last year, says Labour’s Associate Health spokesperson Dr David Clark. 

“About 150 young Kiwis are missing out on help every week. Lifeline has also reported a 40 per cent increase in calls.

“These agencies say they are struggling to keep up with the demand.                                                                                                                                  

“The Minister has to take these warning signs seriously but instead we are seeing the temporary closure of eight beds at He Puna Waiora, the acute mental health unit at North Shore Hospital where there are 12 vacancies for nurses in the same unit. 

“Staff at the unit have said they are so short-staffed they fear for their lives. 

“Jonathan Coleman has already admitted that demand for mental health services has increased by 70 per cent in the last decade. He now has to match this with a funding boost. 

“There are other signs that our mental health system is becoming frayed with assaults at mental health units in Rotorua, Whanganui and Waikato rising rapidly. 

“Peoples’ lives are being put at risk because mental health services are not being funded to meet demand. The Minister has to admit that the funding cut of $1.7 billion is hurting,” says Dr David Clark.