New innovation fund for more mental health initiatives


The government has set up a one-off defined mental health innovation fund to further expand the support available to those who need it, Health Minister Andrew Little says.

“This government is transforming Aotearoa - New Zealand’s approach to mental wellbeing with greater focus on care in the community, and more emphasis on prevention and early intervention,” Andrew Little said.

“The $1.2-million Mental Wellbeing Innovation Fund pilot project is for one-off defined proposals that could contribute to improving mental wellbeing, including initiatives that focus on reducing suicidal distress or behaviour.”

A number of requests for financial assistance from non-government organisations, iwi and other groups to support mental wellbeing initiatives are regularly received by the Ministry of Health, but do not necessarily fit into existing tenders. This fund is another way the Government can look to support these programmes.

“Some of these proposals have merit and could contribute positively to the needs identified in He Ara Oranga: the Report of The Government Inquiry into Mental Health and Addiction, but are outside the scope of the planned procurements.

“A small number of organisations will be invited by the Ministry of Health to provide proposals and participate in a closed selective tender,” Andrew Little said.

“The Government’s vision is to help people stay mentally well - with the help of support available in their communities.

“We are working on the bigger picture and know there is more work to do, but this is another way this government can provide services for those with immediate needs.

“We want to ensure those with complex or severe needs get timely access to specialist help as part of our commitment to laying the foundations for a better future for all New Zealanders.”


Notes for editor:

  • The $1.2-million Mental Wellbeing Innovation Fund pilot project is part of Budget 2019’s $1.9-billion wellbeing investment
  • The Government is half way in to its 4-5-year roll-out of the Access and Choice Programme; Year 1 had a focus on expanding existing services as well as planning and creating new services from scratch; Year 2 focusses on rolling out and ramping up these services to make support more available to those who need it

What we have achieved since Budget ‘19

  • 200+ GP sites delivering integrated primary mental health and addiction services across New Zealand
  • Over 520 full-time equivalents (FTE) have been contracted to provide services.
  • Over 134,000 Sessions delivered by new primary mental health and addiction services since July 2019
  • Established Whāriki, a knowledge exchange network to enable leaders to share learning and transform services.
  • 800 Additional Māori and Pacific cultural competency workforce training places each year
  • 74 Māori suicide prevention initiatives funded
  • 18 Pacific suicide prevention initiatives funded