Hundreds to benefit from additional maternal health support

The Government’s Budget 2022 investment of $10.1 million over four years in maternal mental health will result in better and more widely available care for new and expectant mothers around the country.

The funding will be invested to fill gaps in care identified by last year’s maternal mental health stocktake and will result in more support in the regions. It’s estimated the packages will help support approximately 700 people per year once all funding is implemented by the end of the fourth year of investment. 

The funding will ensure that children, mothers and whānau can access specialist support services around New Zealand and access to appropriate māori services will be improved.

“Supporting parents’ mental wellbeing during their child’s first thousand days is important for long-term emotional, mental, and physical wellbeing of the child. Support for perinatal mental health is accessible for all pregnant or postnatal people when they need it most is also key,” says Associate Minister of Health Dr Ayesha Verrall.

“Last year’s maternal mental health stocktake demonstrated parents face a postcode lottery when accessing care. Through this funding and our wider health reforms, this Government has shown a commitment to ensuring we move towards a consistent level of access across Aotearoa New Zealand.

The $10.1 million will be available to add more clinical and non-clinical staff, as well as packages of care to provide more supports to whānau with higher needs including home-based supports. The final details of the full allocations are being worked on by Te Whatu Ora (Health New Zealand) and Te Aka Whai Ora (Māori Health Authority).

“This investment complements several other initiatives rolled out by this Government to support mothers in the post-natal period, including the Well Child Tamariki Ora enhanced support pilot, pregnancy, parenting services and recognition of maternal birth injuries by ACC.

“These investments continue to build on funding from the 2019 Wellbeing Budget which invested in frontline mental health and addiction services and other early interventions.

“We’ve put mental health help at local doctors and schools around the country, as well as universities, online, on the phone and through smart apps. This means more people are being seen and referred to the help they need.”

“This Government is committed to ensuring parents receive the support they need during pregnancy, birth and in the post-natal period; making New Zealand the best place to be a child,” said Dr Ayesha Verrall.