Mike's Minute: Nothing will come from mental health inquiry

Author
Mike Hosking,
Section
Video,
Publish Date
Wednesday, 5 December 2018, 8:16a.m.

COMMENT:

You know the biggest problem with mental health in this country? We keep saying the same things, talking the same talk, making the same noises - and doing the exact same thing as a result of it all.

Which is largely nothing.

The latest report was out yesterday and it said what every other report says. The Government, who have turned ordering reports into a fine art, are going to get caught out by this, by the way, because mental health was one of their big ticket issues they wanted to tackle - mental health is almost always one of the big ticket issues.

It's one of those subjects you have to be serious about, say the right things about, and put an earnest look on your brow every time you talk about it. But the superficiality of it all surely by now is wearing thin, surely by now we can all see the hypocrisy around this issue.

I watched the news last night in dismay, as yet again we got "extensive coverage", with yet again the same tired series of so-called experts saying the same old tired things they've said for 20 years. More money, more resources, ban ads for booze, attack booze, deal to booze, booze is the problem.

And then cue a few social workers relaying tales of doom and overwork.

And the Government, having kicked the issue for touch when they called for the report, is suddenly faced with the obvious question when it arrives: what are you going to do about it?

Oh damn, answers? Hmmm, answers. Well Health Minister David Clark's answer was that he will look at it over summer and reconvene in March.

The Prime Minister, in the way only the Prime Minister does, gives her best earnest look and says "I look forward to hearing what the public has to say".

The public? They just had their say, thousands of them. But that's them isn't it? Lots and lots and lots of words, consultation, and back and forward rhetoric. There isn't a problem that can't be jawboned to death.

And then once we'd heard from all the usual suspects, with all the usual one-liners and meaningful requests, the cold hard reality was laid out, the way the cold hard reality has been laid out the dozens of times before.

But when we go down this rabbit hole of mental health, what's going to get done? Nothing.

The political will isn't there, the public support isn't there. It's the issue we want to be seen taking seriously without actually addressing, because it's too hard, too complex and too expensive.

So appease ourselves with reports, look up how many reports we've commissioned into the mental health over the past 30 years, and then ask yourself why we still have a problem.

Then re-read this, and tell me I am wrong.

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