To: The Government and The House of Representatives
Subsidise degrees that lead to Mental health jobs
Subsidise degrees that lead to mental health jobs. New Zealand has a significant shortage of Mental health workers, which contributes to the lack of Mental Health services available to those who need them. I am calling for a focus on subsiding degrees that lead to Psychiatrists, Clinical Psychologists, Therapists and Councillors. This action is meant to incentivise students to undertake long-term study to become therapists.
Why is this important?
As of October 2022, employment data shows New Zealand needs 643 Mental Health staff, including 120 Psychiatrists, 408 mental health nurses and 115 Clinical Psychologists. New Zealand needs Mental Health workers, which starts with degrees. New Zealanders should not struggle to access Mental Health services, in 2017 it was found that 90 children a day were being referred to the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (Camhs), and the number of severe cases has been increasing. In 2016 1824 children were rejected or quickly referred from Camhs. This is a real problem as we had 538 people die from suicide in the 2021 to 2022 financial year. The 1.9 billion dollar budget for Mental Health has not seen any change to accessibility in specialist Mental Health services in the last five years. The vision for this subsidy is to increase the number of people taking degrees. that lead to mental health jobs. This could lead to an increase in people going into Mental Health jobs and decrease the shortage of Mental Health workers in New Zealand. A subsidy for study would incentivise students to study mental health by relieving the financial burden of study (which for a practising clinical psychologist is 6 years, and much longer for a psychiatrist). In Australia, the NSW Labor Government has recently announced it will invest $97 million in health study subsidies to attract staff and retain talent in the public health system, New Zealand should be following in their footsteps and investing similarly.