More calls for mental health care inquiry

The Government seems to be digging it’s toes in after more calls for an inquiry into the state of mental health care in New Zealand.

The People’s Mental Health Report has revved things up again

The People’s Mental Health Review was an innovative and powerful project aimed at improving Aotearoa New Zealand’s public mental health system by letting those within the system share their stories.

Although everyone would hope to live in good mental health, the reality for one in six New Zealand adults is very different – and for them and their families, the expectation that they should be able to get help when they need it is vital.

Unfortunately, there are signs that the public mental health system designed to offer this help is in crisis.

Those most in need are experiencing long waiting times for support; the lack of resources is leading to an increased reliance on the use of isolation as a form of care; and the country is experiencing alarmingly high levels of suicide.

The Ministry of Health has rejected repeated calls for a Government review of the public mental health system, so we decided to run our own.

The People’s Mental Health Review was designed to allow anyone involved with mental health in New Zealand – from mental health professionals to those with either personal or family experience of the system – to tell their story. We launched it in September 2016 with zero advertising budget, and over the space of three months collected 500 stories.

This website, and the associated People’s Mental Health Report are the result of that project.


  • An online and downloadable report summarising the key themes raised in more than 500 stories submitted to the People’s Mental Health Review.
  • Four key recommendations for Government based on those themes.
  • An invitation to sign up to an open letter calling on the government to implement our recommendations.

Our hope is that the courage of the 500 people who submitted their stories to this process will be rewarded by seeing their concerns taken seriously, along with their hopes and recommendations for a better future for mental health services in Aotearoa New Zealand.

In response from Newstalk ZB: Opposition calling for Govt to hold inquiry into state of mental health system

Green MP Julie-Anne Genter…

…said the Government’s statements seem to fly in the face of the experience of people needing mental health care, and those working in the sector.

“It does seem that National is failing to address some very real problems in the mental health system.”

“We need to go to some lengths to investigate what all the different causes of the problems in the mental health system are, so that we can begin to address them in a way that’s really effective.”

Labour MP David Clark…

…said his party believes there should be a full review of the mental health sector.

“What we need desperately is a stock take. To put a stake in the ground and say ‘this is where things are, these are the things that can be fixed immediately’ and then to lay out a path to assist them that’s more responsive, where everyone can get the support that they need.

“We need somebody with a mandate to see over the service to check that things are improving and to make recommendations where they clearly haven’t been adequate,” said Clark.

But it looks like the Government isn’t interested.

The Government’s ruled out holding an inquiry into the mental health system, as recommended by the review, with the Health Minister’s office saying an extra $300 million is now being spent on the mental health sector.

Labour leader Andrew Little…

…said Kiwis had “huge concern” about publicly-funded mental health services.

The number of service users had increased by 60 per cent since the 2007/08 year, he said.

“The report says patients have told ‘a story of frustration at being unable to access mental health services.’ This is a tragic indictment of the Government’s underfunding with many submitters talking of despair and hopelessness.

“Recent reports of bed closures, staff assaults and suicides are signalling a growing crisis in mental health. The Government has to act and act now.”


  1. Trevors_elbow

     /  April 20, 2017

    Oh look! A custom ordered piece of research designed to create an impression of a crisis which Grebour can posture about in an election year.

    Lovely jubbley

    If this research came out a month after an election during coalition talks I might take it more seriously. …

  2. We do have a real problem with our Metal Health System. It is under-resourced and over stretched in my personal view based on first-hand knowledge of four cases, three of which ended in suicide. The fourth-case was where a person who had a record of self-harming sought urgent medical assistance because of suicidal thoughts, was graded an urgent case by A&E and yet did not see a specialist for 10 days because the first appointment was cancelled owing to the psychiatrist being on night shift and unable to attend an arranged meeting of the parties involved.
    The frustrating thing is that even the experts are unable to cure the illness, All they can do is diagnose the nature of the illness and minimise the effects by use of medication, it is up to those closest to the sufferer to bear the burden of providing a loving and caring environment to support the victim and be there for them night and day.

  3. Zedd

     /  April 20, 2017

    what can we expect from a Govt. that have more interested in promising tax cuts (to keep the top 50.1% on side) than actually helping the most needy in our societies ? 😦
    ** they are totally passed their ‘useby date’