Revelations that Lifeline Aotearoa has only enough money to run for one more year are another blow to our already strained mental health system, the Green Party said today.
Lifeline Aotearoa provides free 24/7 mental health assistance through phone lines 0800 Lifeline, 0508 Tautoko (specialised suicide crisis line), and 0800 Kidsline (for those aged under 18).
“A strained mental health system has already been palming people off onto these 0800 numbers, and if Lifeline services go under, then New Zealanders will have lost a significant safety net,” Green Party health spokesperson Kevin Hague said today.
“When a service that receives 15,000 calls from New Zealanders in distress and needing mental health assistance is threatened with closure, there are serious questions about the viability of the entire mental health system.
“My heart goes out to those who may fall through the gaps if Lifeline doesn’t get some Government funding.
“Lifeline has already made multiple approaches to the Government asking for help, but this has been rejected.
“If you imagine a piece of fabric being stretched and stretched and stretched, becoming frayed and threadbare, there are gaps appearing now where people are falling through.
“564 Kiwis died by suicide last year, the highest number on record, and it is simply not good enough for the Government to pretend it can’t do anything.
“The Health Minister needs to undertake an urgent and wide-reaching review of mental health services, otherwise more lives will be lost,” said Mr Hague.