12 Oct 2017

Next Tongan govt urged to invest in mental health

4:43 pm on 12 October 2017

The head of an NGO in Tonga says the next government will need to increase its investment in mental health services.

TMHDA President, Leonaitasi Hoponoa

TMHDA President, Leonaitasi Hoponoa Photo: TMHDA

Tonga will go to the polls in November and the head of the Tonga Mental Health and Disabilities Association is hoping improvements in the sector will follow.

Leonaitasi Hoponoa has been involved in Tonga's first mental health symposium this week and said the event aimed to boost awareness.

Mr Hoponoa said around 10 percent of Tongans suffered from mental illness at some point in their lives but government support had not always been there.

"The support for mental health in Tonga is nearly .00001 [percent] and that is a clear indication of how much different key stakeholders place value on mental health. If Tonga is not able to perform urgent action to combat what I call a 'tsunami of ignorance' we will be drowned."

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