It was reported that the N.Zealand, Health Minister Pete Hodgson had announced their plan yesterday, and stated that the primary part of the work was to ensure that patients with mental illness and addiction would have their needs attended to earlier by way of a large range of services.
It was reported that according to the World Health Organization (WHO), mental illness now accounts for almost 15% of the total load of disease in the developed world and that depression would become the second leading cause of disability in the world by 2020.
Reports and statistics from N.Zealand have shown that at any one time, in the country an estimated 20% of the population suffer from mental illness and/or addiction and 3 % of them were severely affected. The strategy has set precedence for action to 2015. The main aim of the plan is to expand the range, quality and choice of services that would be available to the mentally ill and addicts.
Mr. Hodgson explained that the Government has invested $999 million for specialist mental health services in the 2006/07 financial years. He explained that the Government is also planning on substantially increasing the number of mental health care nurses. The Health Minister had released the figures that showed 27% more mental health care nurses and 16% more specialist psychiatrists have entered the workforce since 2000.