Wednesday, 9 September 2020

Action needed on youth suicide rate

“New Zealand’s youth suicide rate is the second worst in the developed world, according to a recently released UNICEF Report Card and we need to take action,” says ACT’s Deputy Leader and Health spokesperson Brooke van Velden.

“The rate of youth suicide in New Zealand is more than twice the average among the 41 OECD countries surveyed. We can’t continue to accept these heart-breaking statistics.

“These young people are daughters, sons, brothers, sisters and friends. It is unacceptable that our children are ending their lives and not receiving the care that they need.

“The problems with mental health in this country run deep. How can we expect a system that can’t adequately care for our most vulnerable to care for the mental health of our youth?

“This Labour Government has failed to make headway. They promised to take mental health seriously.

“ACT has a plan, we would take the $2 billion already spent on mental health and addiction services and create Mental Health and Addiction New Zealand (MHANZ).

“MHANZ would not be a provider of services, but a world-class commissioning agency that assesses individual needs and contracts the best providers for a person’s therapy and care. It would put people at the heart of the system.

“MHANZ would develop expertise in evaluating where the money is going and what services work based on evidence and data. It would issue clear and certain contracts to service providers while evaluating the outcomes and quality of care.

“Any provider that meets strict criteria would be able to register with MHANZ to provide treatment and care. Funding for services would be determined by and attached to the care of individuals and their needs. MHANZ would carefully monitor providers to ensure New Zealanders are receiving high quality care.

“Patients would be able to choose any registered provider for their immediate care, providing greater autonomy, or would be referred to a specific provider in cases where a person lacks the capacity to do so or requires specialised treatment.

“We can and must do better to help our young people.”

ACT's policy can be found here