• Deborah Morris
Youth Affairs

The Coalition Government is to spend $2.025 million on two new youth projects that will help vulnerable young people to turn their lives around, said the Minister of Youth Affairs, Deborah Morris.

"A Youth Development Fund for community projects and a national resource centre for the prevention of youth suicide will be established with the extra money. The two new projects, recently announced, complement the New Zealand Youth Suicide Prevention Strategy which is already being progressed across a number of government departments and community groups.

"This Coalition Government is committed to ensuring that young New Zealanders grow up in a safe, healthy and enterprising New Zealand. These new initiatives, together with current services, will support the valuable work that families and communities are already doing across the country.

"The Youth Development Fund, managed by Internal Affairs, will support six to seven community projects for up to three years. The projects that are funded will work with vulnerable young people to encourage safe behaviours. This could include programmes that tackle mental health problems, behavioural difficulties and help with drug and alcohol abuse.

"The second initiative will see the establishment of a national resource centre to collect research, resources and information relating to the prevention of youth suicide. This centre will be available to communities and professionals.

"A recent consultation exercise showed that people wanted more information about suicide prevention. The new resource centre will allow individuals and agencies to work together in prevention related areas as well as distributing up-to-date information to improve the effectiveness of projects and initiatives helping young people.

"As announced in December, the Ministry of Youth Affairs is developing resource material to assist parents and caregivers, peers, Maori communities and health professionals to recognise and support troubled and depressed young people. This further funding will enable the work to continue for two more years," said Deborah Morris.