Shift of focus for Budget 2019 welcomed by Mental Health Commissioner

Media release  13 December 2018                                                                
Mental Health Commissioner Kevin Allan today welcomed the change in approach for Budget 2019.  “Getting the dollars and cents sorted is an essential part of any Budget but a broader strategy of specifically investing in the wellbeing of New Zealanders is an important shift of focus.”

He welcomed the inclusion of support for mental wellbeing, with a special focus on under 24-year olds as one of five priorities for Budget 2019. 

Mr Allan welcomed the special attention to under 24-year olds.  “As I reported earlier this year we know young people experience longer wait times than other age groups yet there is evidence that early intervention is more effective than later intervention.” 

However, he also emphasised to need to increase service access by others.

“One in five New Zealanders experience mental health and addiction challenges at any given time but funding is currently targeted at three percent of the population.  More people require easier access to the services and support they need.”

Mr Allan stressed the need for greater investment in culturally responsive services, designed and delivered with the communities they serve. He also emphasised the need for people with lived experience to be involved with new initiatives from the outset.  “All those actions are recommended by the recent report of the Inquiry into Mental Health, He Ara Oranga.