“Feel like the Government is announcing money for mental health but nothing ever changes? We hear ya. ACT has real solutions for mental health services in New Zealand,” says ACT’s Deputy Leader and Health spokesperson Brooke van Velden.

“Each year the Government spends about $2 billion on mental health and addiction services, but we’re not seeing any outcomes.

“The $1.9 billion announced in 2019 could have provided 500,000 Kiwis with six counselling sessions each year for the next five years. Instead mental health services have actually decreased.

“ACT recently revealed that the number of bed nights for substance use residential treatment has decreased by 31 per cent. This equates to around 4,000 fewer nights in care available to people in need.

“Amazingly the total number of beds even contracted for mental health services has also decreased since Labour pledged $1.9 billion to mental health, decreasing from 2,760 to 2,688 in five years. You would think a couple billion dollars courtesy of the taxpayer would have made some sort of impact. Where did all that money go?

"ACT would give the Mental Health and Wellbeing Commission the power to transform mental health and addiction services by taking the $2 billion per annum currently spent through the Ministry of Health and DHBs, and channeling it to providers and patients through an upgraded Commission renamed 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.

"ACT is determined to create a better future for New Zealanders. We urge the Government to introduce our innovative solution for the mental health crisis facing New Zealand. We hear ya.”

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Brooke van Velden