The 506 suspected suicides of Kiwis who have been in the care of mental health services in the last four years show that these services are under severe stress, says Labour’s Health spokesperson David Clark.
“If you do the sums for patients absent without leave, on approved leave and in-patients, the total for suspected suicides in DHB care rises to a worrying 535 deaths. The cracks are showing.
“These figures indicate that 20 to 25 per cent of all our suspected suicides are out patients who have had recent contact with Mental Health Services.
“In 2012 -2013 there were 121 suspected suicides in care but by last year this had risen to 142.
“This is a system under stress. There have been temporary bed closures at Capital and Coast and Waitemata due to staff shortages and burnout. Staff at Capital and Coast have been working more than 60 hours a week.
“The Government has to fill the $1.7 billion funding hole that has left our Health system languishing for the past eight years. Our suicide figures are another sign that the system is no longer coping,’’ says David Clark.