Mental health is a serious issue facing thousands upon thousands of New Zealanders - and it's one Labour, and this Government, is making a priority.
Since we entered Government, we've been taking direct, targeted action to increase our mental health services and make sure all Kiwis - of any age and any walk of life - get the help and support they need. We are not content to stand by and watch Kiwis suffer, and tragedies occur.
Take a look at some of the things we’ve achieved in mental health so far:
- Launched a Government Inquiry into Mental Health and Addiction, to identify needs that are not being met and develop recommendations for the best way forward. The Inquiry will report back at the end of November with what we expect will be robust and far-reaching recommendations.
- Delivered a pay rise for five thousand mental health and addiction support workers, demonstrating that we're committed to making sure everyone is paid fairly for the work they do. We’re back-dating the increase to 1 July 2017. We want to support those who work in this area so we can create and maintain a strong, robust mental health workforce and make sure Kiwis can get the care and support they need, when they need it.
- Introduced counsellors into 15 Canterbury and Kaikoura primary and intermediate schools through Mana Ake, to help children living with the legacy of earthquakes and increase their access to additional support for their wellbeing.
- Started a pilot programme for free counselling for 18-25 year olds, to make a real difference for our young people with mild to moderate mental health needs who aren’t currently accessing mental health services – because they can’t afford them, the services aren’t appropriate, or because their needs aren’t recognised as severe enough. We’re working on getting more information about what works for Kiwis, particularly young Māori, young people with disabilities, young Pacific people and young rainbow Kiwis.
- Extended school based health services to an extra 24,000 students in decile 4 schools, to increase access to mental health services to more people in need.
- Built a new purpose-built facility designed to help those with severe intellectual disabilities and mental illness. We're putting forward $8.4 million in funding to provide a new six-unit secure facility for individualised care for some of our most high-needs patients.
- Increased funding for addiction and treatment services for Auckland City Mission, including a new drug and detox facility. This funding will increase the number of beds available in Auckland for drug and alcohol detoxification by 50 per cent, creating an environment that supports recovery and wellbeing.
Pledged funding support for projects aimed at supporting the wellbeing of international students, to make sure every international student who comes to New Zealand to study to feel welcome, safe and supported.
- Stepping up to help survivors of sexual abuse, delivering acute and non-acute medical treatment, forensic services and referrals. These services are incredibly important in helping prevent long-term effects such as ongoing distress and compromised wellbeing. We're also introducing a pilot service to reduce the trauma experienced by sexual violence survivors going through the criminal justice system.
Alongside direct mental health initiatives, we've also made mental health a key component of programmes in other areas across the board:
Invested in our hospitals and healthcare system, including mental health services
Pastoral care and mentoring included in the Mana in Mahi - Strength in Work scheme
Mental health services a key component of our new thinking on prisons
- Funding services for veterans including mental health services
- Led the conversation with a health and wellbeing survey including a focus on mental health.