TAHUA 2017: Fears budget won't meet mental health needs

By Mānia Clarke-Mamanu

Mental health has received a $224mil boost for mental health services. Te Kāea spoke with some Māori mental health workers who are concerned that the money won't be directed to the right areas within the sector.

Odyssey House Māori Cultural Liaison, Ken Kerehoma says, “The amount of people seeking help is increasing. It's increasing weekly and monthly.  That increases but the budget has remained the same to meet the needs, the growing needs of our Māori people.”

Shane White, facilitator of Advocacy Support Services (Patua Te Ngāngara), based at West Auckland’s Hoani Waititi marae says, “We continue to run our education programmes. And walk with those who are affected by Methamphetamine. But there's never enough money.”

Mental services will receive an extra $224mil.

$4.1mil for the Ministry of Social Development to trial integrated employment and mental health services.

$11.6mil to help the Department of Corrections better manage and support prisoners at risk of self-harm.

$8mil for Maori Development to extend the Rangatahi Suicide Prevention Fund.

$100mil for DHBs to support local mental health and addiction services

These mental health workers have their own ideas about where the money should be spent.

Kerehoma says we receive funding for our beds from District Health Boards within and outside Auckland.  Whether they’re male or female, Māori and non Māori. 

“It’s difficult to apply for funding for our residential care homes.  There are many hoops and with a thick book of regulations. DHB's need to make things easier to access so that people can enter into treatment.”

“We need to expand our programme and establish residential care homes in the suburbs and continue to educate our children in schools,” said White.

Cabinet will soon consider a new mental health and addiction strategy which will include a new approach to dealing with mental health issues.