Emergency departments feel mental health stress

Increasing numbers of people with mental health-related issues are turning to emergency departments for help as funding dries up across the country, Labour’s Associate Health Spokesperson David Clark says. 

“Figures obtained by Labour show the number of people presenting to emergency departments as a result of mental health issues have more than tripled in the last four years.

“Alongside that call-outs for adult mental health services have risen significantly and the number of mental health clients admitted to DHB mental health inpatient units is also increasing. 

“At the same time there are fewer dedicated beds available for patients.  Too often care is being devolved to the community without support and funding following. 

“ This Government is failing everyday people in their most vulnerable moments. Its priorities are wrong. We know their focus on protecting the interests of a privileged few means more financial stress for hard-working families. 

“Now is not the time to be cutting the real value of health funding. Yet that is precisely what has happened. 

“The trends are worrying. The number of patients seen in less than 3 weeks has fallen in the past year, and the number taking more than 8 weeks to be seen has risen. 

“As Mental Health Awareness Week draws to a close, it is shocking to learn that across New Zealand, adult mental health callouts are up 28 per cent in just four years. 

“The tripling of emergency department presentations shows a neglected health system under strain. This has real human consequences,” Labour’s Associate Health Spokesperson David Clark says.