A recent admission from New Zealand’s Southern District Health Board (DHB) reveals a significant gap in mental health care with the nation. According to an article published on the Radio New Zealand website, the DHB conceded that it is not investing enough money to meet the need for community and primary mental health care. The situation highlights the negative trends that can occur within a society if the governments do not support these crucial areas of medicine.

Digging the Debt Hole

New Zealand’s Southern District Health Board has been in financial trouble for years now. Various spending issues, mismanagement, and overcommitment have led the board deep into a $35 million debt. The DHB is currently trying to climb out of that hole, with the aim of cutting back the deficit to $22 million this fiscal year. In order to do so, the board has to cut back spending significantly in many areas. According to the commissioner of the board, Kathy Grant, the DHB has been going through the budget line by line to reduce spending.

Underfunding Mental Health Care

When the board reached the budget items related to primary and community mental health, it encountered a troubling reality. For years, the DHB has failed to allocate enough funds to sufficiently support mental health care for New Zealand’s citizens. The problem has become more dramatic during the past five years. According to Health Minister John Coleman, “Across the country, we’re treating 20 percent more people in mental health services. That 28,000 [more] people than five years ago.”

Chief Executive Chris Fleming appealed to the MPS, the review committee in charge of overseeing DHB’s financial cutbacks. “We know we are not investing enough in primary and community mental health, so what are we going to do about it?” said Fleming.

Searching for More Funds

As the DHB struggles to get out of debt, it is restricting spending on every front, so finding the money for mental health care investment is difficult. Fleming said that there are “two ways of addressing the imbalance. More funding… or making tough decisions.” Currently, the DHB is working with the Mental Health Network to figure out the best way to close the gap and provide adequate services to the people who need care.

Recognising the Importance of Mental Health

New Zealand isn’t the only country to struggle with this issue. Too often, the area of mental health care is overlooked, as other items in the budget seem more urgent or important. However, the mental health of a nation’s population is vital to the productivity of the workforce and the spirit of the society as a whole.

If you need better mental health care, find out what resources may be available in your area. You can also visit a psychiatrist in Singapore, such as the caring professionals at Adelphi Psych Medicine Clinic. We’re here to offer help and support to anyone who needs a safe, healthy environment in which to recover from mental health issues. Contact Adelphi Psych Medicine Clinic today to arrange a time for your first consultation.

News Feed from Adelphi Psych Medicine Clinic

Source: Radio New Zealand, 15 February, 2017