Mental Health Foundation statement re government funding for new mental health facility
The Mental Health Foundation (MHF) is supportive of the news of a new, national mental health unit at
Rātonga-Rua-O-Porirua today, but is more encouraged by the Minister of Health’s comments that suggest more mental health
initiatives will follow the conclusion of the Mental Health Inquiry.
“We welcome any investment into the mental health of New Zealanders,” MHF chief executive Shaun Robinson says. “There
are a small number of people who need sustained medical support to recover from significant mental health challenges and
we’re pleased to see the government recognising this need and working to meet it.”
However, the Foundation advises that this announcement will not make a material difference to the mental health needs of
most New Zealanders, and hopes to see greater investment in early interventions, crisis services, and prevention and
wellbeing initiatives to ensure all New Zealanders have the best possible chance to enjoy good mental health and
“Good mental health services are not about beds in hospitals,” Mr Robinson says. “The large majority of people who
experience mental health problems are best supported and cared for in their communities. The earlier people get support
and the more that support considers their whānau, housing, workplaces and real lives in the community, the better.”
Today’s service announcement is a small piece is a very large jigsaw of change that is needed to build Kiwis’ mental
wellbeing. The Foundation continues to look towards a significant shake up in New Zealand’s response to mental health
following the conclusion of the Mental Health Inquiry in October.
“We are encouraged that the Prime Minister and Minister of Health indicated that more is to come,” Mr Robinson says.
The Foundation advocates for:
Increased investment in wellbeing and prevention of mental health issues
Easier access to talk-therapies and other early intervention services
Better training for GPs and other primary healthcare providers to enable them to identify the mental health needs of
their patients and respond appropriately
Services that are community-based and recovery-focused that include and value whanau, family and cultural needs
Integrated and improved crisis responses that lead with compassion and enable individuals to receive high-quality crisis
support whenever they need it
Addressing the drivers of poor mental health such as poverty, family violence, bullying and the impacts of colonization.