First ever nationwide funding of mental health services for Rainbow young

Prime Minister Health

For the first time, the Government will provide targeted nationwide funding to services that provide mental health support to Rainbow young people Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has announced.

The announcement fulfils an election commitment to allocate $4 million specifically targeted to Rainbow mental wellbeing initiatives aimed at young people. There has not previously been ongoing and nationwide targeted support to organisations operating in this area.

“The Government is committed to improving mental health outcomes for children and young people in our Rainbow communities,” Jacinda Ardern said.

“Young people in the Rainbow community are at greater risk of being discriminated against, bullied and harassed. As a result they have poorer physical and mental health and addiction outcomes and are at greater risk of suicide. We need to change that.

“Participants in the Counting Ourselves survey who are trans or non-binary were twice as likely to have attempted suicide in the past year than participants who did not report that discrimination.

“This Government is focused on supporting the mental wellbeing of every New Zealander through the services best-placed to understand and respond to the needs of each community. This is a long overdue commitment to some our most vulnerable youth.

“It will take a range of actions to better help young people in distress but guaranteeing funding to the mental health services they use is an important step towards improving the wellbeing of our Rainbow communities,” Jacinda Ardern said.

Of the package, $3.2 million will fund expansion of mental wellbeing services focussing on young Rainbow New Zealanders.

The remainder of the package will be allocated to topping up the existing Rainbow Wellbeing Legacy Fund which was established as an acknowledgement of those New Zealanders who were convicted for homosexual acts before the law was changed in 1986.

“The funding is part of Budget 2019’s $455 million for expanding access and choice of primary mental health and addiction services,” Health Minister Andrew Little said.

“The Rainbow Wellbeing Legacy Fund was launched in 2019 to support projects, activities and organisations to improve mental health outcomes for future generations of Rainbow communities, with a focus on young people.

“To date, seven initiatives have received support from the Rainbow Wellbeing Legacy Fund including the Be There campaign that provides resources to family of Rainbow young people and education modules for GPs to support them to provide appropriate care to transgender and non-binary young people

“Over the last two years the Government has made significant new investments in mental health support, ranging from the establishment of a frontline mental health services, setting up a suicide prevention office and support for specialist addiction services. Today’s announcement is another component of the work we are doing to address the long term challenge of mental wellbeing in New Zealand.

“This funding is the latest milestone in a comprehensive programme to support youth and at-risk communities to achieve better mental health and wellbeing outcomes. I am looking forward to making more announcements in the coming weeks,” Andrew Little said.