Rural youth to benefit from expansion of mental health pilot

Today’s expansion of youth mental health pilot Piki to the Wairarapa DHB region means young people living in rural settings will receive better mental health support, says Associate Health Minister Julie Anne Genter.

Piki is a pilot programme which helps 18-24 year olds with mild to moderate mental health needs or substance use challenges.

“Piki was launched in February in Porirua, before being expanded to the entire Wellington DHB area. I’m really pleased that it’s now been rolled out to the Wairarapa DHB region within the originally planned timeframe.

“Young people can self-refer, including via the Piki website, and receive support through a dedicated app. Traditional means such as a GP referral are also available.

“These methods mean Piki will greatly support rural youth, for whom a traditional appointment at a dedicated location can be a barrier to access due to difficulties with travel and others.

“The peer support function will also mean young people can receive support from others who have lived experience and can reflect their unique way of living whether they are in a rural or isolated community.

“Piki remains on track to see the 10,000 young people it was estimated it would support over the pilot period. This is a significant number of young people who will receive support. 

“Piki has increased the number of counsellors in the Wellington, Hutt and Wairarapa DHB regions, offering youth-friendly services in locations which work for them.

“This is exactly the sort of people-centred approach recommended by the Mental Health and Addiction Inquiry. Piki reflects the Confidence and Supply Agreement between Labour and the Green Party,” says Julie Anne Genter.