Owning their mistakes seems to be one of the most difficult things for this current government, and none more so than in mental health. Newshub reported on the government yet again trying to shift and deflect.

A senior Government minister has accused a top mental health advocate of not telling the truth about the state of the country’s services.

Mental Health Foundation chief executive Shaun Robinson said on Thursday services for people struggling with their mental health have gone backwards in recent years, despite a massive injection of funding.

“Overall it has got worse, there’s no doubt that it’s got worse,” he told The AM Show. “I think that the Government and the ministry underestimated the size of the problem. Right now today over a million people are struggling with their mental health.” 

Asked if Robinson was telling the truth, Labour MP David Parker told The AM Show on Friday he was not.

My initial reaction to this is: what reason does the Mental Health Foundation have to lie?

“One of the main problems in the mental health system is that we had acute services, we didn’t have services for people with lower levels, but nonetheless real levels, of needs. They’re the people who are now getting service that didn’t have any services available…

“A lot more people in that situation are getting care than used to.” 

Yeah, sure. I think this is what in politics is called “spin”.

[…] Health Minister Andrew Little on Thursday said almost all of the information missing from this year’s report is publicly available elsewhere, and the delay was down to the Ministry of Health having to focus on the COVID-19 response. 

So what if it’s available elsewhere. Why is information missing? Why was it moved?

National MP Simon Bridges, appearing on The AM Show with Parker, said he didn’t know if it was a “cock-up”.

“But I’d certainly say wilfully, information has been fought over by senior officials in Government to keep it out, and we need the full picture… Things are worse than they were three or four years ago, and I’m not standing here saying they were great back then. It’s a real worry.”

He said the Government is “more interested in image than actually trying to solve this”.

Bridges is of course right for once.

[…]”There are more services being delivered to more people year by year, as we ramp up… [we know this] from the statistics that have been released… in other places. If it was a cover-up, it was a pretty poor one.”

Documents provided to Stuff on Thursday showed ballooning wait times for mental health care at the district health board level – up from 21 days to 33 on average since Labour was elected in 2017. Some DHBs had average wait times as high as 72 days. 

Yep, “more services” means nothing if those services aren’t being delivered properly.

[…] National leader Judith Collins has called for heads to roll at the Ministry of Health over the report, and said she’ll be laying a complaint with the Public Services Commissioner

The government ought to have known it was creating a mental health time bomb when it forced the country into the first of many lockdowns. And it should have ensured that the mental health service was ready to cope. It didn’t and it isn’t.

And, to top it all off, they have the nerve to accuse other people, people a lot closer to the coalface, of being liars. Unbelievable.

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Parker to Mental Health Foundation: You’re Not Telling the Truth
Kevin

Kevin

Libertarian and pragmatic anarchist. Has voted National and ACT. May have voted Labour once but too long ago to remember. Favourite saying: “There but for the grace of God go I.”