16 Jul 2017

Mental health system 'needs to change', Mike King tells NZ First

11:54 am on 16 July 2017

New Zealand First is being urged to order a stock-take of the country's mental health services if it helps form the next government.

 Mike King

Mike King Photo: supplied

About 300 people are attending the party's annual meeting and election year convention in South Auckland this weekend.

Mental health campaigner Mike King told them the system needed a stock-take so it could be determined which aspects were working well, and which were failing.

"If I am feeling suicidal or I am severely depressed... the onus is on me to get myself to the hospital to get the help that I need - that needs to change," he said during his guest speech.

Mr King said more help was needed, earlier, to help those that were struggling, and political parties needed to put politics aside for the review to be carried out.

"This is not about egos, this is not about me, this is not about [Health Minister] Jonathan Coleman, National, Labour, it's not about New Zealand First.

"It's about all of us being on the same page to provide a better service for all New Zealanders."

A community campaign group released a report in April calling for an independent review of New Zealand's mental health system, as well as an urgent funding increase. It followed the report with an open letter signed by over 12,000 people.

Labour and the Green Party backed the calls for an independent review.

Health Minister Jonathan Coleman at the time rejected the idea, saying the government was already increasing funding for the mental health sector.

He continued to defend the level of funding in the sector following May's Budget.

New Zealand First leader Winston Peters will deliver his keynote speech at the convention this afternoon.

Where to get help:

Need to Talk? Free call or text 1737 any time to speak to a trained counsellor, for any reason.

Lifeline: 0800 543 354

Suicide Crisis Helpline: 0508 828 865 / 0508 TAUTOKO (24/7). This is a service for people who may be thinking about suicide, or those who are concerned about family or friends.

Depression Helpline: 0800 111 757 (24/7)

Samaritans: 0800 726 666 (24/7)

Youthline: 0800 376 633 (24/7) or free text 234 (8am-12am), or email talk@youthline.co.nz

What's Up: online chat (7pm-10pm) or 0800 WHATSUP / 0800 9428 787 children's helpline (1pm-10pm weekdays, 3pm-10pm weekends)

Kidsline (ages 5-18): 0800 543 754 (24/7)

Rural Support Trust Helpline: 0800 787 254

Healthline: 0800 611 116

Rainbow Youth: (09) 376 4155

If it is an emergency and you feel like you or someone else is at risk, call 111.

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