Extra mental health support for at risk groups

  • Hon Dr David Clark

Organisations supporting vulnerable groups have received a boost to provide additional mental health and wellbeing support with Health Minister David Clark today announcing $3.5 million in funding.

“In addition to the mental health and wellbeing support tools we launched recently for all Kiwis, extra support is being given to people who are vulnerable or more at risk. That boost has already made a significant difference,” David Clark said.

Support has been provided in a variety of ways including targeted information campaigns, online peer support, resources and help with staying connected.

One of the initiatives is the NZ Drug Foundation’s #bestbubble campaign which has reached hundreds of thousands of people with information on coping with life in their bubble, and dealing with the impacts of alcohol and drug use.

“I’ve been told that a lot of people are dealing with either unplanned withdrawal or they have chosen this period to give up drinking or drugs. The NZ Drug Foundation has been providing really important information to these people on how to manage what they are experiencing in a safe way.

“Additional support has been in place for people living with mental health or addiction issues, and whānau supporting them, by providing funding for online support for groups, webinars and multilingual services.

Changing Minds, an organisation that supports people living with mental health conditions, have launched wellbeing sessions via video conferencing.

“Over 100 people have attended these online sessions in the past couple of week and I’ve heard they’ve enjoyed a different way of engaging with others.

“Funding has also gone towards boosting support for deaf, Rainbow and Asian communities who can feel particularly isolated and are less likely to reach out for help.

“The funding for the Rainbow support service, OUTLine, has meant they were able to transform their peer support phone service to a remote operation and promote it more widely. I understand the service has seen an increase in first-time and younger callers under 25 during this time. The funding has also meant that the specialist counselling service has been more accessible to people who have felt the pressure of the lockdown restrictions through social isolation and unemployment.

The Health Promotion Agency has also launched mental wellbeing information campaigns and resources targeted specifically for Māori, Pacific peoples, people with underlying health conditions, older New Zealanders, pregnant women and new mothers.

“In addition, the Cancer Society has received funding to help them reach out to people with compromised immunity.

“These initiatives build on those announced over the past few weeks, providing information, tools and resources to help all New Zealanders maintain their mental wellbeing during these difficult times,” David Clark said.

Editor’s notes:

Summary of additional wellbeing support for at risk communities due to COVID-19

Total funding for the initiatives below is approximately $3 million. This covers the period from April 2020 to 30 September 2020.

Initiative and provider Description

Targeted campaigns for priority groups

(Health Promotion Agency)

Multiple campaigns with targeted messaging delivered to communities experiencing particular risks or which are traditionally ‘under-communicated’ with. Campaigns will be delivered for these priority groups: Māori; Pacific peoples; older people (including people over 70 and Māori and Pacific peoples over 50); people who have chronic health conditions including those who are immunocompromised; and pregnant women and new mothers.

#BestBubble and Credible Voices campaigns  

(NZ Drug Foundation)

These two campaigns will focus on encouraging people to re-evaluate their relationship with alcohol and other drugs and find new and alternative healthier ways to process their feelings; prevention of harm from using alcohol and other drugs to cope with feeling isolated, bored, and frustrated; and targeted communication to support those who are dependent on alcohol or other drugs, or in recovery.

Support for mental health and wellbeing providers

(Mental Health Foundation)

Delivery and administration of the contestable Lived Experience Community Fund, which supports NGOs and community groups to adapt to the changing landscape and support new and existing psychosocial initiatives that help their members and communities stay informed, connected and supported during COVID-19.

Whakatau Mai – Wellbeing Sessions

(Changing Minds)

A technology platform for the safe delivery of wellbeing support sessions, webinars and activities for people who experience mental health or addiction issues; a facilitator, moderator and support worker for each wellbeing support session, webinar or activity; and breakout space for the support worker to deliver one-to-one wellbeing support when needed.

Support for families and whānau with a loved-one living with mental illness or addiction

(Supporting Families NZ)

Funding has been provided to Supporting Families NZ to rapidly upgrade online and remote-engagement capabilities and deliver their COVID-19 tailored package of existing and new family support services, online support (multilingual) and expanded remote facilitation of support groups, webinars and programmes.

Support for cancer patients (Cancer Society of New Zealand)

A one-off contribution to assist the Cancer Society to reach out to their community with psychological messages and increased support in the COVID-19 environment, for example, increased direct support for people undergoing cancer treatments and their families and whānau.

Rainbow community

(OUTLine New Zealand)

0800 688 5463

0800 OUTLINE outline.org.nz

Additional support for OUTLine to provide their free peer support phone line, a transgender peer support service for trans and non-binary people in Auckland, and specialist counselling exploring gender and sexuality for LGBTIQ+ people across Aotearoa/New Zealand.

Rural communities

(New Zealand Rural Support Charitable Trust known as the National Council of Rural Support Trusts)

Support to rapidly deliver a psychosocial messages campaign and packages of support to rural and remote communities. The campaign aims to ensure farmers know that help is available to them and where they can go for help should they need it. This includes support for Rural Women and Young Farmers.