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The Government has today announced details of the $100 million social investment fund for mental health, says Social Investment Minister Amy Adams and Health Minister Jonathan Coleman.

The $100 million fund will be invested in a package of 17 new initiatives aimed at helping New Zealanders suffering from mental health issues, as well as focusing on improving services and earlier intervention.

This fund is part of a $224 million boost for mental health services over four years in Budget 2017. It builds on the Government’s continued investment in this area, increasing from $1.1 billion in 2008/09 to $1.4 billion in 2016/17.

“Mental health is a social investment priority for this Government. It’s one of our most challenging social issues and it affects a large number of New Zealanders with complex needs,” Ms Adams says.

“We want to help individuals and their families through the challenges they are facing so they can lead healthier and more independent lives and we will need to bring together a range of services and targeted new approaches to do so.

“With this in mind, we have brought together Ministers, their agencies and experts to deliver a truly cross-Government approach to mental health and to allocate the fund.”

“In line with international trends we’ve seen an increase in demand for mental health and addiction services here in recent years,” Dr Coleman says.

“The evidence shows that we need to transform our mental health services to build resilience in children and young people to help them better deal with mental health issues and to learn how to overcome known risk factors like trauma.

“The $100 million package invests in a range of initiatives designed to improve access to effective and responsive mental health services, while at the same time starting to shift our focus towards prevention, early intervention and resilience-building.

“The 17 new initiatives intend to:

  • Begin reorienting our approach to mental health towards a focus on prevention, early intervention and resilience-building (focused particularly on school-aged children and young people).
  • Provide a more effective range of responses to meet the needs of people in crisis (or at risk of a crisis situation), as well as upskilling the mental health workforce.
  • Expand distance and e-therapy options, which will enable provision of support earlier, in a more accessible manner.
  • Extend the coverage of supports for people experiencing mild to moderate mental disorders.
  • Build the New Zealand evidence base in this area through adapting, trialling and evaluating programmes or approaches from overseas.

“This package forms part of a wider programme of work to prevent and respond to mental disorders,” Dr Coleman says.

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