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2019 Budget set to deliver

MoS july 2019 budget clark and adern

The Wellbeing Budget released on 30 May 2019 is set to be a game-changer. Access to addiction treatment will significantly improve with a mix of new services and support for existing ones. It will take time to implement, but in the meantime – we can celebrate this significant victory!

Budget 2019’s top focus was mental health and addictions. Investment of $1.9 billion over the next four years has been allocated. Importantly, new investment will cover those who are just starting to struggle with their mental health or drug use, as well as those with more serious problems. No longer will loved ones have to wait until their problems are out of control before they can access help.

The proposed investment is comprehensive and aims at addressing the root causes. There will be more money for mental health and addiction care in schools, in primary health care, in existing treatment centres, in hospital emergency rooms and in prisons.

Some of the highlights include:

  • A plan to get 5,000 people a year early support through primary care
  • (such as GP surgeries) for alcohol
  • and drug issues.
  • Access to a range of free services that support and maintain mental wellbeing for every New Zealander who needs it, within five years.
  • $213.1 million of total DHB funding ring-fenced to enhance mental health and addiction services.
  • $44 million over four years to improve existing drug addiction services.
  • Nurses in schools to reach a further 5,600 students.
  • $197 million for Housing First, aiming to bring 2,700 vulnerable people into permanent homes.
  • $128.3 million over four years for mental health and addiction services in our Corrections system.
  • $8 million over four years to improve responses for those who turn up at hospital emergency departments needing mental health support.

$1.9 billion

invested over the next four years for mental health and addictions

The Wellbeing Budget is really great news for those struggling with addictions and their whānau. It also represents a significant milestone and victory for the Health Not Handcuffs movement.

Now we just need to make sure it’s all put in place as quickly as possible. Realistically it will take a while before every doctor’s practice can include a staff member trained in mental health.

We’ll need to keep the pressure on government to keep them honest and make sure the money is used as efficiently as possible. We also need to make sure enough funding goes to kaupapa Māori approaches to reduce inequities for Māori.

  • Main image photo credit: NZ Herald/Mark Mitchell
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