Six months on, still no 24/7 mental health help

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A boost to mental health services in Queenstown is yet to be implemented, six months after being announced by the health board.

Back in November, questions from DHB was in the process of recruiting an on-call after-hours officer to be based in Queenstown.

It followed the seven-hour detention by police of man who’d attempted suicide. Officers were waiting for a mental health team from Invercargill. The Independent Police Conduct Authority ruled the detention was unlawful but the actions were reasonable in the circumstances.

At the time, mental health, addictions, and intellectual disability head Louise Travers said the DHB was working to provide a more timely mental health crisis response service in the Wakatipu between midnight and 8.30am.

That service was provided by the Southland-based mental health emergency team between those hours. But in a new statement to present, the Queenstown area continues to be supported by the SDHB Southland mental service from midnight to 8.30am”.

The SDHB eventually managed to fill the Queenstown position in February.

“Once the new staff member is fully orientated we will work with the team around implementing a 24/7 on call roster for Queenstown.”

The Invercargill-based team travelled to Queenstown on one occasion in 2018.

Locals appear to be crying out for increased mental health services.

In the council’s 2018 Quality of Life survey, 62 per cent of respondents wanted services boosted, while a quarter of respondents said they’d accessed mental health services in the previous 12 months.