The Key To Wealth
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Do you think there might be something wrong?

30th Aug, 16  |    0 Comments

Healthcare is a growing concern in western democracies, exacerbated by an ageing population, greater expectation placed upon our health providers and cost escalation from medical and technological advance.

But that doesn’t explain why a significant number of young people aren’t coping, mentally.  The mental health services in New Zealand are stretched.  Too many instances of people in crisis are not getting appropriate and timely care and support.  It’s the numbers that got my attention – of Kiwis under age 20 seeking help, making contact with mental health services by way of text, phone call or face to face.





2016 YTD (April)












These are alarming numbers and go some way to explaining why we have such a high suicide rate among our young.  The problem with a crisis such as this is the combined economic and moral dilemma.

  • is the government responsible for the problem?
  • is the government responsible for the solution?
  • what about the family unit?
  • the community?
  • the church?

At the moment the government is spending more money than ever.  Kids and adults can get help from:

  • Lifeline
  • Suicide Crisis Helpline
  • Youth Services
  • Depression Helpline
  • Samaritans

There are good people supporting and contributing to these services, just as there are good people in our hospitals and mental health services in general – the professionals.

But discussions with people involved (patients and providers) soon dispels any feeling of confidence that individual or collective outcomes will improve any time soon.

Recent communication with a young person closely involved within the mental health system highlighted factors I hadn’t considered

  • There are those who need to remain under full-time care and attention but are looking to escape at any opportunity (and do so regularly – only to be ‘re-captured’ and returned)
  • There are those who want to remain, enjoy the care and attention and will do whatever is necessary to get back in (or stay in)
  • There are those who understand the necessity for care and medication and would like to depart when appropriate (have we properly prepared them for that)?

I’m of the opinion that governments are not the answer but they can assist in helping design an answer.  Medical services and mental health services will be best delivered via the private sector and the funding will require increased insurances through employment schemes and individual medical plans.  Government’s role could be to introduce such an expectation with all employers – a similar scenario to KiwiSaver.  Private suppliers of both medical and mental health services can become user pays and the government continue with a safety net scenario such as is available for sickness beneficiaries, the unemployed and superannuation.

But that’s the ambulance at the bottom of the cliff – we haven’t got to the cause – of why so many of the young are depressed, anxious or suicidal, and therefore in need of Lifeline, Helpline, Youth Services.  Unless I’m on another planet, I think the answer lies in: attention, love, time together, understanding, feedback.  All the things Mums and Dads used to provide when they had time.  All the things Grandma and Grandad used to provide before they became travellers or when families remained close to one another.  All the things church groups and sports clubs used to provide within communities before kids started staying at home more and accessed all the online capabilities and home entertainment.

The family unit is sacrosanct and as we depart from it for whatever reason, our children will fill the void with what is available and entertaining, even intriguing – but they are not necessarily mature enough to consider and control the consequences.  This is a social disorder of immense importance and concern.


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