National promises 'zero suicides' strategy, Minister for Mental Health role

Source: 1News

National will create a Minister for Mental Health role, one of a number of pledges on mental health the party has announced today.

National leader Judith Collins.

It will also create a $10 million mental health support package for small to medium businesses and have a "zero suicides" prevention strategy.

The party also wants to have a mental health programme in schools for all years and fund 100,000 free counselling sessions to respond to Covid-19.

The election promise would cost $179 million over four years.

National's mental health spokesperson Matt Doocey said one in five New Zealanders had experienced mental health issues.

“Nearly nine per cent of adults experience psychological distress every month,” he said.

“The impact of Covid-19 has exacerbated this with more New Zealanders struggling with unemployment and an economic recession.”

"These are just some of the changes National will deliver that will improve our mental health outcomes for generations to come,” Doocey said. 

National also want cultural specific mental health support including for tikanga Māori, Pasifika and Asian services.