Media release: 5 Decembe 2018
Samaritans welcomes He Ara Oranga the Mental Health and Addiction Inquiry report to Government, including the recommendation to urgently develop a proposal for Budget 2019 to make talk therapies much more widely available.
Samaritans believe access to talk therapies is critical for preventing suicides.
“It is very positive that the Government is taking the issue of mental health and suicide prevention seriously and that the Inquiry Panel’s recommendations highlight the importance of people having wider access to talk therapies,” Samaritans Wellington Board Chair, Peter Barker says.
“But Samaritans have been calling for action for years now. We would like to see the Government working together with community organisations like Samaritans to properly fund the talk therapy services that are already in place”
Samaritans has a vital role in suicide prevention - listening and talking to people who are distressed, depressed, lonely and contemplating suicide.
“However, as a volunteer organisation that receives no government funding, Samaritans is forced to lead a hand-to-mouth existence,” Mr Barker says.
New Zealand is widely known to have one of the worst youth suicide rates in the developed world. Last year 668 New Zealanders died by suicide, with thousands of others attempting or considering it.
“Samaritans is at the frontline of suicide prevention, with our trained volunteers listening to calls from desperate people who feel like they have no one else they can talk to” Mr Barker says.
“Ideally, we would like to see zero deaths by suicide, but the Inquiry Panel’s recommended target of 20% reduction in suicide rates by 2030 is a good starting point. What we need now is for the Government to commit to devoting the resources to achieve it.”