Social experiments not the solution for mental health care

This guest blog post is by Mark Henrickson, Shirley Jülich and Ksenija Napan all of whom teach and research in the School of Social Work at Massey University in Auckland.

Over Queen’s Birthday Weekend, the New Zealand public was quietly exposed to the concept of ‘social bonds’. According to the Ministry of Health, social bonds seek private and not-for-profit organisations to partner in order to fund and deliver services to improve social outcomes. If they achieve agreed results, Government will pay the investors back their investment plus a return. According to the Ministry website, this concept has been floating around New Zealand since 2013. The fact that it was announced while we were enjoying our last holiday before Labour Weekend suggests that social bonds is not a flagship programme for this government. We have not seen the full plan. But we are deeply concerned by what we have heard so far.

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