Earlier this year, in their infinite wisdom, the NZ government decided to throw $62million into the mental health system to tackle the ever-increasing numbers of suicide, missing the fact that there is a link between suicide and antidepressant use.
Dunne, one can only assume, dismisses the link between antidepressants and suicide. In September, this year, he gave an address to the ARC Group's Conference 'Transformational Change in Mental Health – A Leadership Summit'.
Again, without adding any scientific proof, Dunne addressed the audience with:
"Research tells us one in five people experience a diagnosable mental health or addiction issue over any 12-month period.
"We also know that young people, and Māori and Pacific people, experience these issues in higher numbers than other groups."
So, is Dunne actually saying that Māori and Pacific people are more crazy than white people [Pākehā] or they experience more addiction than white people?
Either way it's kind of ignorant to suggest that one race of people are either more prone to addiction or are more crazy, don't you think? Apparently, data suggests that they do, which, personally, I find staggering and, more than likely, flawed.
Dunne also spoke at the NZ Healthcare Summit 2012 on 3rd & 4th of October at the Aotea Convention Centre, Auckland, an event that was in partnership with pharmaceutical giants Johnson & Johnson.
Whilst on the subject of addressing the masses, in April this year Peter Dunne delivered a speech to the Mental Health Foundation, it's hard to tell, by the written word, if Dunne uttered the following with tongue in cheek, "As parents, we can find it hard to tell the difference between normal teenage behaviour and mild to moderate mental illness. Some would argue, as I believe Nigel Latta did in one of his television shows, that being a teenager is by definition a special form of insanity!"
In June 2010, he addressed the Suicide Prevention forum, to mark World Suicide Prevention Day where he stated that, "Between 70 and 90 percent of people who make serious suicide attempts or who die by suicide have a recognised mental health problem at the time." The event was hosted by SPINZ, an aptly named suicide prevention organisation funded by the NZ government.
New Zealand psychiatry, I was shocked to learn, leans toward racism with some of its views on Māori mental illness.
John Read, a Senior Lecturer, University of Auckland, found that over 60% of senior male psychiatrists born in NZ believe Maori are genetically pre-disposed to madness. No surprise then that the following two comments were sent back to Read after he had sent a series of questionnaires out to NZ psychiatrists.
"I wish Masters students would stop sending me crap studies like this, about pointless, meaningless, cultural rubbish. They (Maori) only represent about 10 per cent of the population, for God’s sake."
"This questionnaire is worthless! I mean the Maoris are always going on about the importance of land etc. etc. so why did they bloody well give it away. They went on about the importance of forestries and lakes and then that bloody idiot cut down the tree on One Tree Hill. I feel that they are getting the appropriate services they need, just not using them, medication is the answer – but they just don’t take their pills – if cannabis was prescribed, I’d bet they’d bloody take that."
- numbers of patients under the care of WDHB died from suicide while having a current or recent (within 6 months) prescription for medication
- those patients for whom an adverse reaction report was filed with CARM by WDHB staff and those where no report was filed
- ingredient and trade name of the drug(s) prescribed to the deceased
- WDHB unit under which the patient received services
- diagnosis of the patient at time of death
- age and ethnicity of patient
It would appear that the NZ government and the mental health approach is plainly not working. With an increase of 46% in the numbers of youth suicides in the past 12 months in NZ, and increase of 76% in Maori Youth suicides in that time, it would also appear that Dunne, SPINZ and the NZ Prime Minister are all over the place when it comes to preventing suicide in New Zealand. This is not a complex issue, it's pretty straight forward and would just require John Key an hour or so of his time.
Dunne's final word on our tweeting conversations yesterday is typical of your average politician, "You have my answer - it's clear, I have nothing more to add."
Well, Mr Dunne, you may wish to control what people wish to say on your Twitter account but this is my blog and it's good to have the space and freedom for a right of reply without an authoritarian politician telling me what I can and can't ask.
Yesterday NZ Labor Minister Kate Wilkinson announced her resignation shortly after the publication of the report from the Royal Commission on the Pike River Coal Mine tragedy. For those who don't know about that particular tragedy you can read more here.
In a statement Wilkinson said:
"The Pike River Mine tragedy of Nov. 19, 2010 happened on my watch as Minister of Labor." She added that her resignation was "the right and honorable thing to do."