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More Effective Mental Health Services Required

Young people are being driven into a state of mental health crisis because of the lack of proper early intervention, according to a report released by the Mental Health Commission.//

The report revealed that earlier help would mean fewer young people would be taken to acute inpatient services in a state of crisis.

The research was conducted by Hilary Lapsley and Heather Barnett based on interviews with 40 young people.

Commission chairwoman, Ruth Harrison said today that what was need by young adults today was responsive services focused on their individual needs.

She said, "Being taken to hospital caused distress for many of the study's participants."

It has been estimated that every year around 18,000 young adults between the ages of 18 and 29 use New Zealand's mental health services.

Ms Harrison said that the research appeared to suggest that people recovered better if they received assistance in their own homes or in their communities.

She said, "A range of community based alternatives to acute mental health services, such as home-based treatment, and recovery houses is required. Mental health services need to be sensitive to the needs of young adults with trauma backgrounds."

Participants in the study talked about child abuse and other issues which led to later mental health difficulties.

Ms Harrison said that these young adults often felt that they had no one to talk to, and thought that parents needed greater awareness of children's emotional issues.

She said, `Talking therapies helped their recovery and we believe there needs to be a greater use of these therapies. There have been some significant improvements in mental health services over the past decade – these improvements have included a wider range of services, particularly community-based services and more people are being seen by services now than 10 years ago.’

Ms Harrison added that the next big challenge was to ensure services were able to respond as soon as a person or their family indicated that they needed help, rather than waiting until there was a crisis.


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