Supporting our healthcare system to meet the needs of those who experience issues of mental health is a critical policy goal if we want to see the New Zealand healthcare system work towards the goal of ensuring patient wellbeing.
We have been making progress in this area, yet we still see a country that has one of the highest rates of youth suicide in the developed world and it is estimated that 582,000 adults had been diagnosed with a common psychological disorder at some time in their lives (Mental Health Foundation 2014) and our youth are more likely to experience psychological issues than adults(Oakley Browne, Wells and Scott 2006).
For that reason, United Future is committed to increasing the capacity of our healthcare system to treat such health issues, increasing the community support we can provide, and highlighting awareness in our society.
The goals we endorse towards our mental health policy are:
- Knowing that community driven support must be emphasised in order to best tailor to the needs of a patient;
- Ensuring that we raise awareness of mental health issues through funding research into the issues that affect our communities, especially our youth so that we can both learn more about the issues that affecr out society but also treat those who experience health issues with respect and dignity;
- Recognising that to build capacity we need adequate funding and support for our skilled professionals
- Increase the number of community-based mental health workers;
- Improve workforce development and funding available for youth-focused counselling services as the first line of defence;
- Fund research to address mental health issues, especially those that affect our youth;
- Increase resources for mental health professionals to ensure that those who are the most vulnerable have their needs properly assessed and treated;
- Encourage government agencies to work together on early intervention, prevention, treatment and rehabilitation.