$24 million boost for Gumboot Friday

Thousands more young New Zealanders will have better access to mental health services as the Government delivers on its commitment to fund the Gumboot Friday initiative, says Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters and Mental Health Minister Matt Doocey. 

“Budget 2024 will provide $24 million over four years to contract the I Am Hope Foundation to provide young people aged between 5 and 25 years with free mental health counselling services through the Gumboot Friday initiative,” Mr Peters says.

“This announcement completes a commitment under the National-New Zealand First coalition agreement, and will enable Gumboot Friday to give more than 15,000 young NewZealanders to access free mental health counselling services each year.

“We know mental health concerns are one of the biggest issues facing young New Zealanders today. This funding will help many young people get support when they need it.”

Minister for Mental Health Matt Doocey says prevention and early intervention are a critical part of dealing with mental health, and Gumboot Friday plays a vital role in enabling youth with mild to moderate mental health needs to access counselling services earlier.

“The service will also support young people who are waiting to access specialist services,” Mr Doocey says.

“This investment delivers on our commitment to improve access to mental health services, support the workforce, and focus on prevention and early intervention.

“We know that Government alone cannot address the mental health challenges faced across the country alone, and that is why we are proud to be partnering with a long-standing and proven organisation that addresses the needs of our communities on the ground.”

Research has found that every $1 invested in I Am Hope results in a social return to New Zealand of $5.70.

“The numbers clearly stack up, and by providing more access to targeted early intervention, our young people will be better equipped to create a brighter future for themselves,” Mr Peters says.

“Investing in mental health initiatives supports better outcomes across the wider health system and the funding will complement the delivery of other mental health services.”