Mental Health Innovation Fund

National will help deliver faster access to mental health services for vulnerable New Zealanders by boosting community providers and NGOs.

As the cost-of-living crisis continues, there is growing concern among mental health professionals that things are only going to get worse as financial pressures build on Kiwi families.

Despite announcing $1.9 billion funding in 2019, Labour has failed to deliver the improvement in mental health services and outcomes New Zealanders urgently need.

Compared to when Labour took office six years ago, the number of people reporting they are unable to get the professional help they need has increased by 80 per cent.

A National government will deliver more resources to the frontline by scaling up NGOs and community providers who are delivering better mental health outcomes, faster and more efficiently than under Labour.

National will do this through the Mental Health Innovation Fund, which will initially see up to $20 million in matching funds distributed to community mental health organisations who are delivering strong results for Kiwis in need.

The Mental Health Innovation Fund will support innovative community providers like Mike King’s Gumboot Friday to scale up their already successful operations so they can reach more vulnerable Kiwis.

Based on the cost per session that an organisation like Gumboot Friday achieves, National’s $20 million investment could deliver the equivalent of more than 130,000 additional free counselling sessions from the NGO sector over four years.

Funding will also be available for activities beyond one-on-one counselling, such as the suicide prevention programmes run by MATES in Construction or any other mental health programme, provided they can demonstrate they are delivering outcomes.

Kiwis have made good progress breaking down the stigma around asking for help with mental health, but when people do ask for help, they often find a mental health system that is too hard to access.

National will help change this by amplifying the impact of frontline organisations that are already delivering real change for vulnerable Kiwis.

Read more about our plan here.