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19 Mar 2018 8:25
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  •   Home > News > Health & Safety

    Mental health focus should be on recovery

    A report on the state of mental health services in New Zealand says treatment needs to focus more on recovery and restoring mental well-being.

    Mental health services are failing to support patients with their recovery and are only available when a person's condition has deteriorated, a report has found.

    The findings from the Mental Health Commissioner's report, published on Wednesday, found New Zealand mental health and addiction issues were under pressure.

    "Access to mental health and addiction services has grown 73 per cent over the last decade, while funding has grown only 40 per cent. More of the same is simply not okay," commissioner Kevin Allan says.

    While there were signs of progress with many people reporting positive experiences and seeing improvements in their mental health, Mr Allan said there needed to be more resources for recovery and support.

    "Often services are available to people only once their condition deteriorates, and the most common treatment options of medication and therapy don't address the broader social factors that help people be well and support their recovery."

    Mr Allan was also concerned that when the court issued a compulsory treatment order, rates of seclusion were nearly four times higher for Maori males, and five times higher than other populations.

    The report's findings will be available to those heading a Government inquiry into mental health and addiction issues, announced last month.

    Health Minister Dr David Clark says the report was further evidence of the need for an inquiry.

    "As a country we can do more to identify and support people in need at an earlier stage. We need more prevention and early intervention," he said.

    The recommendations made by Mr Allan include:

    * broaden the focus of service delivery from mental illness and addiction to mental well-being and recovery

    * increase access to health and other support services

    * improve the quality of mental health and addiction services

    * ensure timely information is available about changing levels of need, current services and support, and evidence about best practice

    * implement a workforce strategy that enables the sector to deliver better, more accessible services

    * achieve changes through collaborative leadership, supported by robust structures and accountabilities to ensure successful, transparent results.

    © 2018 NZN, NZCity

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