PSA welcomes‘core priority’ given to mental health for 2019 Budget

The commitment made at the Labour Party conference by Finance Minister Grant Robertson to making mental health one of five core priorities for next year’s Wellbeing Budget is welcome news says the PSA.

“Grant Robertson’s message (on Saturday) that mental health will be given the priority and focus it deserves is welcome news that a new direction is going to be set for mental health and addiction services,” says Kerry Davies, acting PSA national secretary.

“This emphasis on mental health is something we have been fighting for – so that the centrally important role of mental health and addiction services and the workers who make those services possible can be recognised and supported.

“Two signs of the workforce being better valued this year have included the historic pay equity settlement for mental health and addition workers and a newly ratified deal for mental and public health nurses at all DHBs,” says Kerry Davies.

“The PSA is acutely aware at the same time that the impact of long-term staffing shortages and under-resourcing remain major issues for our members and for the New Zealand public. 

“Attention will now shift to the recommendations that the Mental Health Inquiry panel is due to deliver to the Government later this month, and to the Government’s response, which should be available in December.

“The PSA and its Mental Health Committee have made positive inputs to the Inquiry panel process and we are optimistic that its recommendations will put forward the need for major changes.

“Those changes will need to be backed by significant new levels of funding in the 2019 Budget, and the priority signalled by the Finance Minister this weekend gives cause for confidence that new funding will indeed be made available”.