Increase in mental health patients seeking emergency help

The number of mental health patients seeking help at hospital emergency departments has significantly increased in the past four years, symptomatic of a “neglected health system under strain”, the Labour Party says.

Figures obtained by the party under the Official Information Act, showed that across nine District Health Boards (DHBs), patients needing emergency support for mental health issues has increased.

Waitemata DHB, New Zealand’s largest, had seen an increase in the June month of more than 77 patients, since 2011.

While Waikato had risen from 333 in June of 2012, to 663 for the same month in 2015. Auckland, Bay of Plenty and Lakes DHBs had seen small increases of between seven and 15 patients.