Attention: Hon. Paula Bennett
Minister of Social Development
Dear Ms Bennett
We would like to appeal to you to reconsider the withdrawing of funding/subsidizing counselling to Beneficiaries with a Disability Allowance.
Presently, subsidies of approximately $56 per session of up to 10 sessions are available to those who are on a Disability Allowance. Those eligible for the Disability Allowance include those diagnosed with Depression. We know that the incidence of Depression and suicide continue to increase in New Zealand.
Currently, there are 12.3% in every 100,000 deaths from suicide in New Zealand,
Research published in the International Journal BMC Medicine shows that of 18 countries, New Zealand consistently ranked in the top 25% on nearly every measure of depression.
15-20% of New Zealand mothers are known to suffer from anxiety/depression postnatally and that is very likely to be under-diagnosed. Those at-risk of postnatal depression include single mothers and parents on low income including beneficiaries.
Research shows us that the fastest and most effective way of recovering from Depression includes counselling/therapy, however one session costs between $80-120 which is not affordable for middle income earners let alone lower socio-economic fheir families including beneficiaries. Some beneficiaries are receiving a benefit due to their mental illness preventing them from being able to work. With assistance from therapy, it is possible for them to fully recover or to become well whilst managing their illness, and therefore find work and be able to keep a job.
Without counselling, those suffering with depression are likely to experience prolonged depression leading to chronic depression or further relapses. The consequences of depression are far-reaching: relationship/marriage breakdown, disruption to the attachment between mother and child (leading to significant issues to that child's life which can include delinquincy, learning difficulties, addiction, mental illness and even suicide) , and suicide.
This petition has been prepared and presented by Mothers Helpers - a Charitable Trust working with mothers with ante-natal and post-natal depression and signed by the wider community.
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