“The mental health system is absolutely failing our young people, but far worse than that…””

Young MP Chloe Swarbrick slams Parliament for the failure of not just the mental health system but also housing, employment and education for young people.

Yes, the mental health system is absolutely failing our young people, but far worse than that is that every single other piece of this system that this Parliament has built up, decade after decade, is failing our young people. Whether it’s the housing system, whether it’s employment, or whether it’s the debt that they take on to get an education, we are failing our young people.

Full speech:

CHLÖE SWARBRICK (Green): E Te Māngai, tēnā koe. Tēnā koutou e Te Whare. I thought long and hard about the topic of this speech, and I thought about not addressing the subject which I’m about to address, but I thought that it was important, given that so much of this debate tends to operate in the abstract when we talk about numbers.

I want to talk about something real, because last night I got a call about another young person in Auckland who had attempted to take their life. That’s not abstract. That’s very, very real, and what concerns me is that we so often talk about these things in the abstract. We talk about the numbers and we talk about the statistics.

I was having conversation with somebody close to me about this, and they shook their head and said that the mental health system is failing our young people.

Yes, the mental health system is absolutely failing our young people, but far worse than that is that every single other piece of this system that this Parliament has built up, decade after decade, is failing our young people. Whether it’s the housing system, whether it’s employment, or whether it’s the debt that they take on to get an education, we are failing our young people.

I cannot drive it home anywhere near enough, because when people say to me that young people are lacking in resilience nowadays, our young people aren’t dying from diseases, but they are taking their own lives. There is something chronically wrong and chronically ill in the system, and we have to be bold enough to address that.

I can’t get this out clearly enough: if we cannot work together as a Parliament to solve this issue, we don’t deserve to be here. All 120 of us—we do not deserve to be representing the people of this country.

I understand that what typically happens in this Chamber is the back and forth and the political point-scoring, and we all understand that that’s just the politics of it—that’s the theatre. We all go back to our communities and we have to face up to those people who are experiencing immense, immense struggle.

I have been up and down the country, as I’m sure many of us have, and I have spoken to those who are dealing with this mental health crisis. It’s epidemic. It didn’t happen overnight. I said in my maiden speech that I feel as though the mental health epidemic is the pointy end of decades and decades of what, for lack of a better term, is a kind of austerity. It’s the shredding of safety nets, it’s the shredding of care, and it’s the shredding of community.

We know there is surmounting evidence—contemporary evidence—on the mental health crisis that showcases that three of the major driving factors for mental illness are trauma, isolation, and poverty, and we have set up this system to perpetuate those things.

So we need to be prepared to be bold, because in going around the country and talking to people about these issues, I have not once heard people ask for tax cuts. Instead, I have heard people ask for support, I’ve heard people ask for adequate housing, and I have heard people ask for opportunity, and that is what we have a responsibility to provide.

None of this is normal, and it should not be inevitable. We need to come together as a Parliament and invest in our future, and I believe that we are all, ultimately—if our words are to be believed and if our rhetoric is to be believed—committed to a paradigm shift, and that paradigm shift looks like being bold enough to look at the problems bald-faced and see them as they really are.

I am proud that we have started on the first step with the investment in the pilot programme in Porirua that will impact the lives of 10,000 New Zealanders. But we need to see this rolled out throughout the country, and we need to see all of Parliament coming together to see that happen. Kia ora.


See Free youth mental health pilot for Porirua

67 Comments

  1. Alan Wilkinson

     /  February 15, 2019

    She obviously spends her time with the takers rather than the givers and believes opportunity is the chance to take more.

    • Mother

       /  February 15, 2019

      That was sick of Chloe.

      For an intelligent mind and compassionate personality such as we see in Chloe, clearly we have sunk very low for her to be speaking thus in Parliament.

      It’s just sick. We need to stop all this talk.

      People with mental anguish do not talk until they are ready. No amount of other talk will change that. In fact, the more talk – the harder it gets for those who are truly struggling. As Chloe says, ‘trauma, isolation and poverty’ are the causes. Non of those issues are solved by talk. The more public this talk gets, the worse our mental health will become.

      Chloe has not gone down in my estimation. She’s a product of people who are so right, always right. Intelligent lady. Sick speech.

      I might look into the Porirua pilot programme but I’m sure it will just be another way for us to play the game Chloe calls Abstract. Chloe’s speech will be proven as hypocritical somewhere down the track.

      • Kitty Catkin

         /  February 15, 2019

        WE do not deserve to be representing the people…speak for yourself, Chloe.

        She has really let herself down with this speech.

    • Blazer

       /  February 15, 2019

      whens pension day..bludger?🤢

      • Blazer

         /  February 15, 2019

        @Al.

      • Alan Wilkinson

         /  February 15, 2019

        Every second Tuesday, troll.

        • Blazer

           /  February 15, 2019

          troll your new word,replacing loony left…

          you can ask to opt out of the ‘free money’…hypocrite.

          • Alan Wilkinson

             /  February 15, 2019

            Have you?

            • Blazer

               /  February 15, 2019

              too young for that ..old chap!😁

            • Alan Wilkinson

               /  February 15, 2019

              Keep paying tax then young fellow and eventually you’ll have the right to opt out too.

          • Alan Wilkinson

             /  February 15, 2019

            Oh nice, here is a Lefty icon who just loves paying tax, B:
            https://www.nzherald.co.nz/business/news/article.cfm?c_id=3&objectid=12204315

            And getting freebees from City Hall.

            • Blazer

               /  February 16, 2019

              you worship these guys Al.
              Ask him if he wants citizenship or maybe some high country for $3.50 a hectare…’NZ 4 Sale…apply National HQ.

            • Alan Wilkinson

               /  February 16, 2019

              Oh no, WaPo and Bezos will be firmly in Labour’s corner.

            • Blazer

               /  February 16, 2019

              yes a billionaire who’s been screwing workers for years as he tries to build a monopoly business has ‘lefty’ written all over him!

              You are as shallow as a petrie dish Al…and your arguments dissolve like…disprin.

            • Alan Wilkinson

               /  February 16, 2019

              Of course. You don’t think Lefties actually practice what they preach do you? That’s for others.

  2. alloytoo

     /  February 15, 2019

    Isn’t she the one advocating to legalise cannabis? Paranoid much?

    https://yournz.org/2019/02/14/study-finds-cannabis-linked-to-increased-risks-for-teenagers/

  3. Finbaar Rustle

     /  February 15, 2019

    New Zealand is ensconced in mass consumerism.
    Wide “spread’ obesity from meat, butter, milk and fruit mountains.
    Diabetes from food and drowning in wine and beer lakes.
    Enmeshed in 24/7 digital devices meaning no need for neighbours or friends.
    Coping with living in paradise has to be learned and should be taught in schools.
    There is no terrorism or plagues while food + clothing are cheap.
    We are now at the stage where we need to
    invent problems to solve + invent enemies to defeat.
    Which is a good thing.
    She’ll be right folks.

    • Mother

       /  February 15, 2019

      Aotearoa has too many childish politicians and political commentators.

      Mr Rustle’s wife is clearly unaware of how much silliness happens on blogging.

      Aotearoa is not ensconced in mass consumerism. Lots of youth know the value of life. They just need strong leadership.

      • Finbaar Rustle

         /  February 15, 2019

        Good morning mother.
        Political commentators like ourselves do a great job cultivating robust debate.
        You and I are strong leaders providing wonderful role models for young ones.

        • Mother

           /  February 15, 2019

          You are not a leader.

          I think you might have mental health issues Mr Rustle. (Many times, people will say that to annoy/frustrate/take down another person. I never do that, although I am annoyed with you. I am genuine in my concern. You are not a good leader in your state of mind.)

          You could seek help. You are seeking attention. A strong leader does not behave that way.

          • Blazer

             /  February 15, 2019

            ‘physician heal thyself’….Mother….the AUDACITY.

            • Mother

               /  February 15, 2019

              That man is a meddler Blazer.

              I continue to learn through YourNZ. It really is showing me the poor state of leadership in our country.

              I am serious about Mr Rustle needing appropriate help with his mental health. Apart from being annoyed with him, I will speak up for the sake of community. We need good strong leaders of integrity, not childish nit picking attention seekers. Then on the individual level, I really do feel concerned for him and his family.

            • Conspiratoor

               /  February 15, 2019

              Then it would no doubt surpise you mater, that people pay money to hear finbar share his expertise. And you, what are you offering?

          • Gerrit

             /  February 15, 2019

            So how will this new “leadership” be identified? How will we know the chosen ones are the new “leadership” group? How will we know this new “leadership” is not imposing their particular brand of “group think” on people and leading all astray from their own individual enlightenment?

            Bottom line is we are all our own leaders. The cravenly follow another “leadership” group or individual is to join a cult.

            We may draw inspiration from all sorts of sources but ultimately the leadership to take one to where one want to be, is up to the individual.

            Bit scary you can diagnose a persons mental illness via a few lines of prose. Probably what is wrong in the world, too much diagnostics based on preconceived assumptions. So much judgement from the righteous who have no right to judge us individually, just assuming that right (mind you some give the right away freely) and with standards the “judges” adjudicate with may not meet our individual standards.

            • Mother

               /  February 15, 2019

              Gerrit, I did not diagnose any one’s mental “illness” (your word).

              I have used my own mind, as an individual and I challenged that person because I’m practising a new skill. It’s a part of my healing.

            • Mother

               /  February 15, 2019

              The new kind of leadership that we clearly need will be identified by individuals.

              The Uncomplaining Courageous would rather die than draw any individual into a “group think.”

              The Uncomplaining Courageous don’t have a brand.

            • Blazer

               /  February 15, 2019

              try this new skill….introspection to detect hypocrisy.👌

            • MaureenW

               /  February 15, 2019

              Comment of the day Blazer!

            • Gerrit

               /  February 15, 2019

              Mother; Your words

              “I am serious about Mr Rustle needing appropriate help with his mental health.”

              Then

              ” I did not diagnose any one’s mental illness”.

              —————————————–

              Now call me pedantic but saying someone needs help with their mental “health” would indicates you had some level of diagnostic fervor. Hence a diagnostic regarding his “illness” (illness defined as being in need of a restorative program to restore health) .

              Seems you live in an alternative universe where needing help with mental health does not indicate an illness.

            • Mother

               /  February 15, 2019

              Yes Gerrit, needing help with mental health does not usually equate with any particular medical diagnosis.

              Professionals who diagnose mental illness do so without fervour. At other times, unhappy people receive a non judgemental listening ear from professionals. This is tax money well spent. If we continue to do well in this area of professionalism, hopefully the tide will turn. Youngsters will go on to break the vicious cycle of abuse.

              Being somewhat off kilter happens to every person at some time or other.

              I did not ‘diagnose’ Mr Rustle.

            • Gerrit

               /  February 15, 2019

              Mother; your disconnect is astonishing.

    • MaureenW

       /  February 15, 2019

      @Finbaar Rustle “Wide “spread’ obesity from meat, butter, milk and fruit mountains.”
      Try wide-spread obesity through mountains of flour, sugar and starches” – that would be more accurate.

  4. David

     /  February 15, 2019

    What a load of cobblers, friends daughter had a car crash, bit traumatized and straight into taxpayer funded one on one counseling. Doubt there is another country on earth that provides that.

    • Mother

       /  February 15, 2019

      Our Maori people rightfully have a monetary helping hand to help them come to terms with colonisation.

      Our mentally unwell thankfully have places to go, often with tax payers’ help. This is good too.

      We have a mental health problem because we do not honour God.

      Increasingly, descendants of the colonists are finding that they also have issues stemming from their forebears’ life choices.

      Any one who only has harsh words/attitudes toward the mental health issue is a part of the problem, and those people offer no practical political solution.

      I have been suggesting a way through the quagmire –

      Christianity, or not, is a serious consideration for each of us. There is one Church and those who belong completely are free indeed. Those who want to ‘be one without being one’ are also welcome to enjoy the advantages of being a people who honour God, whether a little or a lot or somewhere in between. God is not fussy. It is us who have become fussy and silly and cruel toward one another. It is us who are fearful as a little country in a world bigger than we can handle.

      The Uncomplaining Courageous are those who have a life and they are the ones with workable political solutions.

      The mental health debates, the walking for suicide, the celebrity talk, the emotional tripe in Parliament – it all irritates me.

      • Blazer

         /  February 15, 2019

        is this Capt Courageous?

        • Blazer

           /  February 15, 2019

          • High Flying Duck

             /  February 15, 2019

            I hope he’d forgive them as he pushed their heads under the water. It’s the Christian thing to do.

            • Mother

               /  February 15, 2019

              It would be funny if it wasn’t so sad. The weak faith of Christian leaders does a lot of damage.

              ‘Uncomplaining Courageous’ is the term I made up to take me away from Protestantism, which began 500 years ago. Calvanism will not take us safely through the next 500 years. Un Comp is the way to go.

            • Mother

               /  February 15, 2019

              Adherence to the golden rule is alive and well in Aotearoa. But everything needs a reason. Without reason, we get cults and/or take overs.

              That is why, as an individual, I ask others to think carefully and intelligently – researching and being open minded – about what to do, as an individual, about Christianity.

            • Blazer

               /  February 15, 2019

              @Mother …I’ve thought about it and I believe the answer is to treat it with the contempt it deserves.

            • MaureenW

               /  February 15, 2019

              @Mother – That is why, as an individual, I ask others to think carefully and intelligently – researching and being open minded – about what to do, as an individual, about Christianity.

              Get a life. Blind adherence to doctrines that have long outlived their purpose is rather sad. Because you need “something to follow”, that’s your stuff to deal with. Do we all have to be reminded of your stupidity daily? You’d be better off not bragging about what a gullible twit you are.

    • Griff.

       /  February 15, 2019

      Dave.
      How many counseling sessions does it need for us to be better off?
      Counseling is about $120 an hour… if for every eight client hours they get one person back into work a week earlier we are winning.
      Most clients would only get a couple of sessions .
      Acc savings plus tax dollars from getting someone back being productive in the work force easily covers the cost of a few hours of one on one.

  5. Zedd

     /  February 15, 2019

    Chloe likely knows more about young kiwis concerns & issues (thumb on the pulse) than 90%+ of the others 119 sitting in the parliamentary ‘Ivory Tower’..
    “Go you good thing !” 🙂

    • Gerrit

       /  February 15, 2019

      Agree with you Zedd.

      One of the reasons we need to restrict the number of terms a MP can sit in parliament to 3 (or stretch to 4 but absolute no more).

      To many ivory towers that create silo thinking. To many MP’s wedded to the system to ever change (either themselves or the system). Looking at someone like Winston Peters in particular.

      Whilst I don’t always agree with Chloe Swarbrick politics I do admire the fresh thinking being introduced.

      • Mother

         /  February 15, 2019

        There wasn’t any fresh thinking in Chloe’s speech.

        If an older white man spoke with emotional fervour like that in Parliament, people would be down on him with harsh judgement.

        If somebody with my experience of abuse and the corresponding ‘system failure’ spoke like that in Parliament, people would ostracise me at least. If I persevered to challenge, I would get thrown out.

        Chloe’s speech is not a fresh voice. It is the old lie in a pretty package. There was nothing of substance voiced by her as an antidote to her complaining.

        • PartisanZ

           /  February 15, 2019

          I call BULLSHIT on that Mother!

          Her ‘fresh thinking’ was manifest and manifold, almost miraculous for a politician.

          Calling the other 119 to task, not following a Party Line and pleading for ‘all of Parliament’ action is ‘fresh’ all right … You’d better believe it …

          Most of the others only want to play political football with this and most other issues.

  6. Gezza

     /  February 15, 2019

    It was god to see Mike King get New Zealander of the year. Someone who’s not waiting for several governments to do something effective to help our young people suffering from depression & committing suicide up in too numbers too great to be talked about endlessly by hand-wringers & bureaucrats. Someone who just gets off his arse, gets out into the schools, & does something – trying to help them recognise that they aren’t alone in their insecurities & despair, & that there are signs & strategies they can use to recognise & deal with their own issues & help their friends who may be at risk. There aren’t enuf Mike Kings.

    • Gezza

       /  February 15, 2019

      *good to see

    • Blazer

       /  February 15, 2019

      I assume that is his paid vocation these days…G.

      • Gezza

         /  February 15, 2019

        Well I hope so. He started off in a small way & kerps doing it because he cares & thinks he can make a difference. He know where these kids heads are at & I think he’s great.

      • Griff.

         /  February 15, 2019

        I can tell you for a fact that getting involved has a cost.
        Dealing with constant negative outcomes wears even the strongest down.
        People like Mike and John Kerwin will be paying an emotional cost for their advocacy that money will never alleviate.
        You dont have to like them but ffs dont knock the effort they put into helping others.

        • High Flying Duck

           /  February 15, 2019

          To Blazer any hint of money soils endeavour and bespeaks corruption.
          Mike and J Kirwin are now part of the problem.

          • Blazer

             /  February 15, 2019

            making it up as you go.

            What evidence do you have?None as..usual.

          • Griff.

             /  February 15, 2019

            I was expecting something along those lines when I said Counselors get $120 an hour .
            1 There is a limit on how many hours a week you can sit listening to emotional pain no matter how well you maintain professional detachment .
            2 Counseling is a profession. Those I know have at least a masters level degree and spend considerable time on professional development .
            3 An hour of face time does not include the time spent preparing for and reviewing client interactions.
            4 Like any profession there are overheads including counseling space , mandated supervision (yes Counselors must engage with specialist Counselor Counselors ) professional body fees etc.
            5 Clients cancelling makes for a considerable waste of your time .
            .

  7. Mother

     /  February 16, 2019

    Gerrit, show me my ‘disconnect’.

    You disconnected from me, I presume because you dislike my message. You have that right.

    For you to diagnose a ‘disconnect’ in one of society’s victims – one who is obviously wanting to communicate! – is arrogance indeed. You do not have the right to push your strange attitude upon me. I utilise my freedom of speech.

    YourNZ,

    Chloe complained about the usual issues of political import – issues which we all agree upon. We need good housing, equal opportunities, health care, education, jobs etc. Chloe did not address those issues. She only had a moan without suggesting a single practical remedy.

    Do you view her statement that she and her fellows do not deserve to be parliamentarians unless they are able to turn around Aotearoa’ poor state of mental health as a remedy?

    At best Chloe called us all out. Unless there is a remedy, it’s just more rhetoric – more of what sweet young Chloe seems to think she can fight on her own.

    If anything can be second handedly gleaned from Chloe’s speech it is that the mental health sector, and every other area too, needs more money. Apart from stating the obvious, how do you think her moan affects those individuals whom practise their mental health professions with care and diligence? How do you think it inspires average hard workers who get on with life in typical private Kiwi style?

    In general, YourNZ does not like to hear my suggestions toward remedy. I can accept that. At least I offer something instead of moaning. Would you rather hear about how Chloe’s ‘system’ let my family down – for decades.

    Christianity for individuals is of immense value. We will lose freedom of speech if secular social media continues to be harsh toward Christianity. (Unless perhaps we want to go Russia like and have an imposed fast from the internet domestically?)

    My testimony was shared Dec 2018 and I have taken care to communicate with individuals on YourNZ in order to avoid misunderstandings and misrepresentations, also to avoid getting drawn into senseless arguments. How crazy and heartless some of you appear. If you do not wish to read my testimony and comments and apply an effort to understand, then don’t! How dare you attack me in my vulnerable state. Some of you are a big problem as Kiwis. You are in the way of Chloe’s hope for a better future. I can applaud Chloe for her hope, but nothing else in her speech. I think it is foolish – and sad that she found herself in that position. However, with people like some of you to represent, she can rest assured that she and her fellows have a mandate to hold their jobs as parliamentarians.

    ~~~~~~~

    I have stated before that there is no such thing as prophets. Jesus Christ is the last prophet. Of course, I am out on a limb with that statement amongst Christians. For decades they have run after various ‘prophetic voices’. When one lets them down, they latch on to another, and so it goes on. Meanwhile Jesus stands aside waiting, as a gentleman does.

    Like Chloe, I too was listening to a friend yesterday. (That’s pretty much what inspired the timing of Chloe’s speech. One acquaintance!) My friend’s latest following for ‘prophecy’ in her personal Christian life is one particular lady who is saying that 2019 is the year of transition in Aotearoa. Really? I’ve heard this kind of thing many times over.

    Yet – 2019 can be the year of transition from childishness into a growing maturity. What concerns me is that people latch on to the ‘prophet’s’ message as though it is a thing that definitely must happen and if it doesn’t, negative and fearful attitudes surface. It’s a vicious cycle for Christians and our ‘Christian’ society.

    This is not how prophesy works. If prophesy is not edifying to individuals, it is either nonsense or evil. If it does not inspire toward a hope which individuals recognise as relevant to them individually, it is not prophesy. It is either cult like, or falling upon deaf ears.

    You may deride Christians for needing something to lean on and you may feel that cults are for the stupid. I challenge any individual on YourNZ to privately prove your mandate for discussion re Christianity with me on this site. And if you are one who has already publicly declared that Christianity is not for you, you have no mandate to communicate with me unless perhaps it is a mandate of hatred and scorn.

    We cannot get good political leaders nor fair and intelligent msm reporting until our social media is cleaned up. Chloe deserves to stay.

    If Chloe is true to her word, she may possibly leave Parliament and train to serve in the mental health field? It seems that she is naturally inclined toward compassion in this area.

    • Gerrit

       /  February 16, 2019

      WOW…prove my mandate to interact with you?

      NAH…rather leave you to your ramblings.

      Goodbye

  8. Mother

     /  February 16, 2019

    Parti, Chloe’s speech makes no sense.

    She moralises that the state of our mental health is atrocious, yet says that the things politicians normally work on are in a “far worse” state. Yet the main topic of her speech was about mental health. Which is it? Mental health? The good old basics? A combination? She gave no way forward for any supposed problem.

    We need leaders with steel covered compassion. They are there in Parliament and there are more in preparation. If social media could/would….if we the people would quietly clean up our private act, we will get government to make Chloe proud.

  9. alloytoo

     /  February 16, 2019

    I suspect that ten years from now we will be drawing parallels with Chloe’s Parliamentary career and Jamie lee Ross’.

    Frankly like priests, MP’s should have at least 10 years in the private sector before entering the profession.

  1. “The mental health system is absolutely failing our young people, but far worse than that…”” — Your NZ – Lisa'sbrews