Press Release: Kyle MacDonald – Psychotherapist and Mental Health Advocate
Today marks the beginning of a national campaign to make counselling and talk therapy universally available and free to all New Zealanders.
The campaign is inviting people to sign in support of free counselling an “Open Submission” to the “Independent Review of Mental Health and Addiction Services” which is currently seeking public submissions and ideas to improve the mental health system.
The Open Submission can be viewed at: www.freecounselling.nz
Campaign organiser, and one of the people behind the “People’s Mental Health Review” Kyle MacDonald, believes that making access to counselling and talk therapy universal is a priority for the redesign of mental health services in New Zealand.
“Frustration with how hard it was to access counselling and talk therapy was one of the most common complaints we heard in the submissions to the People’s Mental Health Review” says MacDonald. “This is despite the fact that we know that face to face counselling and therapy is the most effective treatment for depression and anxiety, as well as highly effective for a host of other mental health difficulties.”
The World Health Organisation (WHO) in 2016 encouraged all nations to increase investment in mental heath services, stating that for every $ 1 USD spent it would lead to $ 4 USD return in better health and ability to work.
“In many ways it is cruel and inhumane that a proven, effective treatment for one of the most common, and most expensive health conditions New Zealanders face – namely depression and anxiety – is effectively withheld due to such limited funding being allocated to it’s provision.” says MacDonald. “If more people could be seen quickly by a trained counsellor, psychotherapist or psychologist we would expect this would help take some of the pressure of DHB psychiatric services already over whelmed with demand.”
The open submission will be presented to the review panel prior to its final report back to the Government in October.
Kyle will be attending the public meeting of the Review panel in Auckland on Tuesday evening and will be available to media throughout the day, and in person at that meeting.
For more on the campaign see: www.freecounselling.nz
For more on the Independent review of Mental Health and Addiction Services see: https://www.mentalhealth.inquiry.govt.nz