Mental Health Reports Valuable Contribution To Debate

  • Bill English

Health Minister Bill English said two reports issued today by the Mental Health Commission were important contributions to the debate about how to best care for people with a mental illness and the funding necessary to do that.

"I hope that these reports will stimulate widespread debate in the mental health sector about services and funding over the next five years.

"The Commission is proposing substantial increases in funding. There will be a wide range of views about whether the funding would best be used in the services outlined in the Blueprint, in more new and innovative services, or in dealing with the wider determinants of mental illness.

"Over the last four years funding for mental health has increased by 75 percent, from $313 million in the 1994/95 year to $549 million in this financial year. If this rate of growth continued we could expect a considerable proportion of the gap the Commission has calculated to be met.

"I believe the mental health sector now has a much better understanding of how to improve services. People's expectations for support for those services in future years will inevitably be weighed up against other health needs such as child health, elective surgery, or disability support services," said Mr English.