On May 9, we delivered an open letter signed by 12,800 New Zealanders calling for an urgent increase to mental health funding, independent oversight of the public mental health system, an inquiry into the system to uncover what's working and what's not (so it can be fixed) and mental health education in schools. It was accepted by Associate Health Minister Hon. Peter Dunne.
In media interviews, rather than answer our calls for better public mental health services in Aotearoa, Health Minister Jonathan Coleman has called everyone who signed the open letter “left-wing and anti-government protesters”.
Signatories of our open letter - that has been signed by two people every minute, every day for the past two weeks - included nurses, counsellors, unions, teachers, New Zealander of the Year Taika Waititi, Survivor Advocate Louise Nicholas, Mad Butcher Sir Peter Leitch, comedians Rhys Darby and Michele A’Court and many, many others. Hardly the “anti-government” group Coleman is trying to paint us as.
You know you've struck a chord when powerful people try to discredit the people making the ask, not the policies we're asking for.
Here’s the plan: We’re going to crowdfund independent polling with a research company to ask a representative sample of New Zealanders: Do you think the Government is doing enough to ensure everyone in New Zealand can get essential mental health care when they need it?
We’re betting that most New Zealanders, no matter who they vote for, want to see a healthy and functional public mental health system, so we’re going to use this polling to call Minister Coleman on his attempt to distract from the real issues. Will you chip in to help us fund polling?
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