Government delivers more wellbeing support for young people


Thanks to more than $10-million in new services from the Government, more rangatahi will be able to access mental health and addiction support in their community.

Minister of Health Andrew Little made the announcement today while visiting Odyssey House Christchurch and acknowledged that significant events like the devastating earthquakes ten years ago have added anxiety and pressure to people’s lives.

“A lot of great work has been done to help support the people of Christchurch through very challenging times over the years and that has helped build the resilience of this community. But this Government is committed to do more to help young people all across the motu to improve their wellbeing,” Andrew Little said.

Rolling out over the coming weeks, youth-specific primary mental health and addiction services will be available in Bay of Plenty, Hamilton, Palmerston North, Wellington, Kāpiti Coast, Hutt Valley and Canterbury. These services will support young people in these centres but also across their region.

“The Government is serious about making sure New Zealanders struggling with mental health or addiction issues get the help they need as early as possible,” Andrew Little said

“As our young people grow into adults, they face a time of rapid change and development and are at the highest risk for the onset of mental health problems and psychological distress. We know these problems have been increasing among our young people for some years, so funding services that support young people is crucial,” Andrew Little said.

The services will be offered in a range of locations including youth one-stop shops (YOSS) and community centres.

“It’s important young people have a broad range of youth-friendly support they can access, that also reflect their specific needs. These services will help with early detection and intervention of any issues so we can set our young people up well for the rest of their lives,” Andrew Little said.

These services add to existing ones announced in September last year, that children, young people and their whānau are already accessing in other areas including Rotorua, Taupō, Wairarapa, South Canterbury, Dunedin and Southland.

Rangatahi-specific services in other areas of the country will continue to be rolled-out over the coming months.

These community-based youth services are in addition to a range of phone, text and online supports including Youthline, OUTline, SPARX, Melon health, Aroha chatbot and The Lowdown.

“The Ministry of Health is also working closely with the Ministry of Education to ensure there are good wellbeing programmes within schools to support young people to be able to better look after themselves and avoid getting into distress,” Andrew Little said.

“It’s really important for rangatahi to see and hear the message repeatedly that it’s okay to not be okay. That it’s completely normal for everyone at every life stage. Most importantly, they are not alone, and there is confidential, free help available, Andrew Little said.

This youth package adds to other mental health and addiction services already available in Christchurch including integrated primary mental health and addiction services, expansion of services for Pacific peoples, a service for young people previously announced in South Canterbury and specialist addiction services. Dedicated kaupapa Māori services will be announced in the coming months.

Editor’s note:
The youth-specific services announced today will be provided by:
Provider name Service name Location
Odyssey House Trust Christchurch in partnership with the Community Youth Mental Health and Addiction Service Core Partners. Community Youth Mental Health and Addiction Service, Whakatau Aratiki Rangatahi Hauora Service Canterbury
Te Puna Ora O Mataatua Charitable Trust Tamariki/Rangatahi Resilience Hub Eastern Bay of Plenty
MidCentral District Health Board with services provided by the WAIORA Rōpū Primary Youth Wellbeing Service MidCentral
Kapiti Youth Support One Stop Shop Trust in partnership with Evolve Wellington Youth Service and Vibe Youth Primary Mental Health and Addiction Service Capital and Coast, Hutt Valley
Pathways Health Ltd Whetū Marewa Service Western Bay of Plenty
Greater Hamilton region of Waikato DHB district

This funding is part of Budget 2019’s $455 million for expanding access and choice of primary mental health and addiction services.

In July 2020, the Government also announced $25 million to boost mental health support for tertiary students, which builds on the existing roll-out of free primary mental health and wellbeing services for 18- to 25-year-olds including programmes at Auckland and Victoria Universities.

Through the COVID-19 mental health package, a range of youth-specific mental wellbeing tools and resources were also funded to support young people to look after their mental wellbeing through the uncertainty caused by COVID-19, including the Melon app, Aroha chatbot and Youthline’s web chat function.