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Mental health funding good, but advocate calls for more to tackle the issue

A mental health advocate has praised the Government's investment into mental health, but is calling for more work to be done to understand why people are suffering.

Richie Hardcore talked to TVNZ1's Breakfast yesterday about the issue in time for World Suicide Prevention Day, which is an awareness day observed on September 10 every year.

It also comes after the Government on Sunday announced the first major investment into mental health from Budget 2019 -  $6 million in funding for existing but currently unfunded mental health services starting early 2020.

Mr Hardcore said he was pleased to see increased funding, but added it was important to look at the broader structure of why so many people struggle with their mental health, including depression, anxiety and high numbers of suicide.

Source: TVNZ

"It's great that we've got all this increased funding for the counsellors and therapists and mental health workers in the GP clinic, but what is it about our broader society that is making us struggle? It's what we also need to continue to look at addressing.

"If you look at from 1984 onwards, we've been through heaps of neo-liberal economic reforms, we're increasingly further and further apart as human beings, when actually, humans are social creatures and unless we change that we're always going to have the worst problems we have."

Mr Hardcore also said in a world of social media "the culture of comparison is terrible for us", especially for young people.

"Those things aren't inherently bad, but young people are getting poor mental health issues, poor body image issues, that sort of stuff, because they're always looking at people who seem to have it all," he said.

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The mental health advocate talked to TVNZ1’s Breakfast ahead of World Suicide Day tomorrow. Source: Breakfast