So I have been following the negativity being posted about the role of the police, the government funding, the absence of funding for initiatives such as GF etc. None of this is doing anything to help the crises in our country. First and foremost, the police are first responders and that includes responding to an emergency in the community – mental health professionals do not have fast cars with sirens able to rush to a person in crisis. The police have in the past received training about responding to folk in distress, that actually is their job – somehow this training has been stopped, even the training that was in place for the recruits in Wellington (correct me if I am wrong – I hope I am ) has been stopped.
Secondly GF etc. is not the only entity doing good work around our suicide issues in NZ there are many awesome initiatives out there also vying for the same money. I respect the work GF are doing so I am not making a negative comment in that regard. The money to fund such initiatives is not the money that was given to an addictions service with gang connections (and the erroneous fabrications around this is not ok either – as the gangs weren’t funded, an addiction service was). Lets get those facts right to start with.
As a consultant and educator into the mental health sector I see first-hand the amazing work that is going on in the community in NZ, some of it on a shoe string and those folk are busy doing the mahi not moaning about it or turning people away in a petulant manner. I am busier than I have ever been as my mahi now is around supporting the professional and personal development of those good people doing that good mahi. I hold hope that finally our government has it right, fund the community to eventually unburden the acute system. it will take time, but it is the right thing.
Another important consideration is that it takes a ‘village’ to fix a problem not a one-man band. We all have a responsibility here. A further issue I am noticing now and it relates to the above in regard to the negative press around all this is that this actually does nothing to mitigate the stress of the community. So much negativity out of the media and its feeders is actually increasing anxiety levels. I talk to folk who are distressed because of some exaggerated supposed ‘fact’ they have read on line or in the paper. Once I am able to help them see an alternative the anxiety levels decrease. Stop and think about all the amazing mahi that has been done in our country to respond to a terrorist act in a supportive way, stop and think about how we are now one of the safest countries in the world right now during a global pandemic. When was the last time you read anything that celebrated that?
Anyway onwards and upwards for me, I am busy thanks to the awesome work happening out there in the MH community. We haven’t got it right yet but my goodness we are all working hard at it. (Acknowledgement for the Photo by Neil Thomas on Unsplash)