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Psychologist says there's more to mental health than just health

18 January 2018

Posted in: Pacific Radio News,

By Ruci Farrell -

Psychologists are supporting the call for an urgent review of mental health and addiction services in the country.

They say Pacific and Māori people are disproportionately impacted by poor mental health and there is a need to focus on socio- economic issues and address the disadvantages they face.

President of the NZ Psychological Society Dr. John Fitzgerald says mental health service needs are varied.

"I'm encouraged that the Minister and the mental health sector are saying, 'We need to review this'," he says. "But reviewing it is not enough. We do need additional resources across the board."

Dr. John Fitzgerald. Photo/ Massey University.

"The other thing recognised is that it's not just about health, it's about housing, it's about jobs and employment, access to education. The first thing is improving mental health literacy. This is something that we need to talk about more."

Auckland academic and mental health specialist Dr. Jemaima Tiatia-Seath says poverty is a major contributing factor to the high rates of mental health issues amongst Pacific and Māori people.

She says says fixing the socio-economic disparities could be a game changer for the country.

"There's lots of receipts suggesting that poverty is a huge contributing factor," she says. "What we're not seeing enough of is the actual disparity between NZ Europeans and Non NZ-Europeans."

"We could be the game changers in terms of where mental health should go."

Dr. Jemaima Tiatia-Seath. Photo/ IASP.

Tags: health,