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Salient. Victoria University of Wellington Students' Newspaper. Volume 31, Number 17. July 23, 1968

Mental Health a 'live issue'

Mental Health a 'live issue'

"Why are there no psychiatric facilities in the Hutt Valley—an area with over 100,000 people?"

This is the theme of a campaign to make mental health reform a live issue in the Hutt by-election.

The campaign is being organised by Dr Geiringer and the New Zealand Medical Association with the help of a number of students.

It is regarded as a logical continuation of a similar effort made in New Plymouth at the time of the general election in the long term NZMA policy to change the Government's attitude toward mental health facilities.

"The ultimate aim of the campaign is to teach politicians a few lessons about running a community health programme." Dr Geiringer said,

"So long as doctors remain silent about the quality of medical services they are an asset to those politicians.

But if doctors feel it is their duty to point out the great inadequacies of the present system people will listen to them and it becomes a huge political liability.

"We really want to remove medical services entirely out of political control," concluded Dr Geiringer.

The campaign is being organised so as to make people aware of the lack of adequate psychiatric services with the hope that this will effect the result.

"We may have had some effect in New Plymouth." Dr Geiringer remarked, "the seat certainly changed hands from National to Labour."

The campaign will include a massive house-to-house pamphlet distribution, two public meetings, close questioning of the candidates at their meetings and possibly street meetings.

Students who are interested should contact Leslie Smith (Phone 27-496).