The NZ Outdoors Party is very concerned about the increasing number of New Zealanders suffering from anxiety and depression, and the alarming number of people committing suicide. Very concerning to us, is that nearly 15,000 antidepressant prescriptions are being given to 6 to 18 year olds annually, and 72 for children aged five and under. (Pharmac 2008)

Maria Bradshaw’s well researched work regarding depression and suicide in New Zealand exposes that normal medical practise for mental health is clearly not working. The NZ Outdoors Party recommends using Maria Bradshaw’s research and recommendations to improve mental health outcomes and reduce the suicide rate in our people.

At the heart of the current mental health paradigm is the biomedical approach which fails to acknowledge the many psychological, social, environmental and nutritional factors that can contribute to mental health issues.

The NZ Outdoors Party will recommend reforms which encompass a more holistic multi-faceted approach to the treatment of individuals suffering the range of mental health issues such as depression, anxiety, schizophrenia and suicidal ideation.

This would include access to functional medicine and nutritional support as well as addressing the social determinants of health such as housing, social inclusion, meaningful work, access to education, financial support and meditation.

Recognising that Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) affect an individual’s health for their entire life, the OP will support programs for resolving emotional trauma.

As nearly 10% of psychiatric outpatients have medical disorders which produce psychiatric symptoms, NZ Outdoors Party will ensure all patients presenting with psychiatric disorders undergo a comprehensive health evaluation to rule out underlying health issues. Until this is achieved they should not be given medications without careful evaluation.

The New Zealand Outdoors Party will advocate and recommend the reinstatement of long term residential care homes for the safety and well-being of psychiatric patients. This will be a safe place that patients can receive a full diagnostic assessment, quality nutritional support, rest, therapy, as well as long term care for those who are no longer able to care for themselves out in society.