The New Zealand Association of Counsellors (NZAC) welcomes the Mental Health Inquiry’s (MHI) recommendations, however they urge government to address urgent need by increasing funding for school guidance counsellors immediately.
“We acknowledge there is much for the government to digest, however, there are issues that can, and should, be addressed now,” says the Association’s Youth Mental Health Portfolio Holder, Christine Macfarlane.
The MHI report recognised the growing need for access to mental health services for children and youth, and that preventative and early intervention is crucial.
“So, it’s important that government invest funding into access to talking therapies through primary, intermediate and secondary schools, and action should be taken sooner rather than later.”
Overall, Ms Macfarlane commends the report’s recommendations.
“It’s really positive that this part of the process has been completed, and with particular insight into culture, diversity, access to services, and the impacts family and whanau.”
As those working on the ground floor, the Association is glad to see social determinants of wellbeing playing a key role in the report, such as housing, employment, poverty, family violence and sexual abuse.
“All those things significantly impact people’s mental health and wellbeing.”
Ms Macfarlane is also glad to see the recommendation of an overhaul of mental health system, with a cross-government, cross-sector approach.
“A cross-government, cross-sector approach will garner a sense of trust in the process for the public, as we tackle mental illness for the long-haul.”