A cry for help from New Zealand’s longest-running crisis line highlights chronic underfunding of the sector by the Government, Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King says.
“Lifeline is THE go-to helpline for people in crisis, taking up to 180,000 calls each year, and is the most recognised provider of suicide intervention services in the country.
“Despite that Government cost-cutting has seen the agency lose several contracts it relied on for funding its 24/7 helpline, forcing it to go cap in hand to the public.
“Lifeline is the same organisation the Government asked to help with the transition of Relationships Aotearoa clients following its closure last year.
“It is answering up to 15,000 calls each month on exactly the same issues it was dealing with then – surely proof that it is an essential service.
“We know other mental health and addiction services are also feeling the pinch, having to compete for an ever-decreasing funding pool as cuts to the health budget take effect.
“It will be a sad day for New Zealand when the Government can’t see fit to invest in saving lives. Here’s hoping Jonathan Coleman can see the value in this service and offer some form of a lifeline,” Annette King says.