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The hidden pandemic

Recently Stuff wrote a series of articles, the most recent called the hidden pandemic. The article broadly was about the huge spike in mental health referrals and subsequent claims into insurers.

It articulated that:

  • There has been a 225% increase in psychiatric claims made between 2019 and 2021.

  • Correlated has been a surge in domestic violence cases against women.

  • Women have been most greatly impacted through COVID related redundancies.

  • Those living in the south island are feeling it worse - Southern police attended 9% more threatened or attempted suicide events and 6.5% more mental health events between Jan and Nov 2021 compared to the same period the year prior.

In addition, the common method for seeking appropriate help -while often starts with the GP- is with a referral and diagnostic assessment by a psychiatrist. A recent survey indicated that nearly half wanted to leave their jobs given the unprecedented demand they face.

Further insights into suicides within NZ between 2008 and 2013 highlighted that in most cases men and women saught help from their GP (60% and 80% respectively, and appears to demonstrate an increase in men seeking help, whilst women remain constant). About 30% would be hospitalised prior to suicide event occcuring.

This provides evidence to the serious problem that everyone in New Zealand is now facing:

  • Greater support to psychiatric teams is required

  • Mobilisation of psychiatric trained personnel into GP's is required

  • More effective support of people in crisis is needed

This is why we at Tango Kilo Mike do what we do. We believe that providing training and guidance as to spot signs of crisis before they occur and enable peer-support to take place provides extra safety to everyone. Our training covers pre, during and post crisis event for both the person in crisis and the supporter.

Email us at if you'd like to know more or get involved.

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