The Government delivered its first Budget last week, and while health was the overall winner, there was little for mental health. The previous government’s ring-fenced $100 million for mental health was placed back into the wider pool of health funding.
In response to criticism about a lack of funding in Budget 2018, Health Minister David Clark at the time said he expected at least $50m more to be spent on mental health by District Health Boards across the country, which would come from their general allocation. However, the minister isn’t in a position to tell the DHBs how to spend that money, if it hasn’t been ring-fenced specifically.
The extended nurses in schools program, cheaper GP visits, and a pilot program giving 18 to 25-year-olds free mental health counseling and therapy, we’re expected to help, Clark said. “There are quite a few smaller initiatives that will add up in this Budget for mental health … Of course, there will be more to do, but I’m really proud of the start we’ve made.”
Any additional mental health funding has been deferred until the inquiry reports back.
National Party mental health spokesperson Matt Doocey says the Government has “shortchanged the sector”. “The Ardern-Peters Government, who once called for a change in the mental health system, has denied New Zealander’s progress for at least another year.”
There is little targeted money for mental health in the Budget, and the health minister has “badly let down” Kiwis hoping for some good news, Doocey says.
Mental health talks have progressed over the years, people are more open to discussing it and to be more proactive in helping themselves and others, unfortunately, it has not progressed in the way that the government is putting full funding into it. People who suffer need to feel like they have that support in all areas so they are able to live their lives as best they can.
Alternative treatments/therapies/medicine are used more frequently nowadays, as natural is seen as the best option. Companies like every day optimal cbd are providing these types of natural medicines for a whole range of ailments that cause people to either stop their lives or retreat within themselves.
The government needs to not only recognize and put money into this but to do so with treatment programs so this way of helping is not seen as taboo. Hopefully, with new budget discussions, more can be put into these therapies.