1 Apr 2017

'Look at the money ... spent reducing the road toll'

1:28 pm on 1 April 2017

It's a given that putting more money into the mental health sector would pay for itself, a mental health advocate says.

An illustration shows a young man caught in the grip of dark hands, illustrating mental health and suicide prevention.

Photo: Illustration: Giselle Clarkson

The national rural health conference is being held in Wellington today.

Matt Shirtcliffe.

Matt Shirtcliffe Photo: Supplied

Advocate Matt Shirtcliffe said the government's 2015 increase of $500,000 to the sector was a drop in the bucket compared to what is needed.

"Depression is one of the biggest killers in the country," he said.

"Look at the money that the government, over years, has spent reducing the road toll. Look at the money that they've spent promoting quad bike safety. So why don't they take that same approach to overcoming depression."

Mr Shirtcliffe said he wanted to see a comprehensive plan to spend more on mental health in the country's farming communities and that it would pay for itself thousands of times over.