PM’s Youth Mental Health Project helping thousands

  • John Key
Prime Minister

Prime Minister John Key says thousands more young New Zealanders have access to support services in schools and the community, following the launch of his Youth Mental Health Project in April last year.

The $62 million four-year project, which has recently been expanded from 22 to 26 initiatives, is bringing social services together across the health and social sector, communities, schools and online. It is designed to help young people who have, or may develop, mild to moderate mental health issues.

“I’m really pleased with how this four-year project is tracking. We’re seeing government agencies working better together to connect and strengthen support for our young people at a time in their lives when they are most vulnerable,” Mr Key says.

In the third six-monthly update of the project, Mr Key says it is showing some pleasing progress. Key achievements to date include:

·         36 decile three secondary schools are now offering school based health services to 17,467 young people. This is in addition to the decile one and two secondary schools, which were already funded to provide services.

·         Mental health training sessions have been delivered to 246 frontline youth services staff members.

·         10 potential apps/online tools have been identified for development.

·         30 additional secondary schools have successfully implemented positive behaviour for learning school-wide programmes. This is on top of the 108 schools the Government already funded to provide school-wide programmes.

·         All 20 DHBs have established or extended youth primary mental health services.

·         41 rangatahi/young people and their whānau/aiga are now working with the Whānau Ora for youth mental health approach providers in the Counties Manukau and Hastings areas.

·         Nationally, as at 31 March 2013, 90 per cent of 12 to 19 year olds were seen by alcohol or drug services within eight weeks of referral.

·         School-based mental health services are working with 17 secondary and primary schools in the Canterbury district for students affected by the earthquakes.

“Through this project, we’re increasing access to school-based health services with nurses in decile 1-3 secondary schools and strengthening school environments through positive learning behaviours and dedicated youth workers to work with disengaged pupils.

“One in five of our young people will experience some form of mental health problem during the crucial time they are transitioning to becoming an adult.

“Even mild mental illness can have a big impact on a young person’s life and on those around them. That’s why I have personally driven this package of initiatives to help young people with mental illnesses,” Mr Key says.

“I’m proud the National-led Government has taken several steps to improve the opportunities available to young people in this country over the past almost five years,” Mr Key says.