The parents of Nicky Stevens, who was a suicide victim while in the ‘care’ of Waikato DHB’s mental health facility in 2015, have supported “much of the thrust” of the Government’s Mental Health Inquiry, but said they are “disappointed with the weak suicide prevention target”, a 20% reduction in current figures by 2030.
“While everyone recognises that the awful suicide statistics will be hard to turn around, it is vital that New Zealand aspires to a zero suicide target, which would be one sign of a truly healthy nation,” said Nicky’s mother Jane Stevens.
“Openly implying that an annual suicide rate of over 400 – worse than the road death toll – is acceptable, sends the wrong message,” she added.
Nicky’s father Dave Macpherson said his family was supportive of “much of the thrust of the rest of the report, with its call for better access to services and treatment, more staffing, and better programmes to tackle some of the underlying causes of mental health issues.”
“What we now want is for mental health to no longer be a political football, and for all the Parliamentary parties to get their heads together around a mental health improvement programme that all of them will sign up to going into the future.”
“With potential changes of Government every six or nine years, this country can’t afford the sort of stop-start approach to the provision of mental health services we’ve had in the recent past,” he said.
Dave Macpherson is TDB’s mental health blogger. He became a Waikato DHB member after his son died from mental health incompetence.