Extra mental health help for Canterbury great - but regular reviews needed

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After a series of vicious cuts to mental health services, Cantabrians will be welcoming news of additional government investment – but the PSA says regular reviews are now needed.

The government’s announced an extra $20 million in funding over the next three years, with an additional 27 primary care and community-based mental health workers.

The Public Service Association, the union for mental health workers, is pleased at the news, which should help redress the funding cuts revealed earlier this year.

But National Secretary Erin Polaczuk says the additional funding must be frequently reviewed, to ensure it keeps pace with demand.

“We’ve also expressed concern about the workloads faced by some of our members, especially since some are still taking care of their own mental health, trauma to their families and repairs to their homes.

“Minister Coleman’s quoted international research which says psychosocial recovery after a major disaster can take 5 to 10 years.

“But he’s failing to acknowledge ongoing quakes in Christchurch, like the one on Valentine’s Day this year, which retraumatise those who were recovering.

“We hope this will be the first of regular reviews of the adequacy of funding for these services – and that future assessments will be based on demand, not the amount of money left in the pot.”