Katie Kenny and Laura Walters
“If you were to be crass, you could say there is a bit of a flavour of the month about it,” former Health Minister David Caygill says about mental health, during a conversation in a Christchurch cafe. It does sound crass, but it’s true. The shortfalls of our mental health system are a constant topic of discussion at the dinner table, in Parliament and in the media. Headlines claiming the system is “broken” or “on a knife edge” are frequent, and hard to ignore. You don’t have to look far to find a story about a mental health advocate calling for an independent review, or a grieving family member whose child killed themselves while in the care of services.
It is part of the media’s role to expose failings and hold those responsible to account. It’s relatively easy to point fingers and blame people in power. But, for us as journalists, it’s harder to look in the mirror and ask if we’re holding up our end of the bargain.