The Ministry of Health and Te Pūkenga have signed a $1.6 million agreement to boost mental health and addiction support for learners, with the first services expected to be in place by the end of July this year.
This is part of the four-year, $25 million package to support tertiary students across Aotearoa that was announced last year. There was $2 million available in the first year with the remaining funding in this package tagged for mental wellbeing support in Wānanga. The funding amount increases to $5 million in year two and will involve programmes providing supports for universities.
The additional services that will be available through Te Pūkenga campuses build on a number of new services already being delivered at tertiary institutions around the country through the Integrated Primary Mental Health and Addiction Programme, which is being rolled out as part of the Access and Choice programme.
Students at the University of Auckland, AUT, Waikato University and Victoria University can access these new services through the university health clinics. For learners aged 18–25 at Victoria University, Massey Wellington, Whitireia and WelTec, support is also available through the Piki programme.
‘A key part of increasing access and choice for students is offering different options to support mental wellbeing,’ said Toni Gutschlag, Deputy Director-General Mental Health and Addiction.
‘We are building a range of services and tools, so ultimately our young people will be able to access support that works for them whenever they need it, and wherever they are in New Zealand.’
Funding has recently been announced to support Youthline, which gives all young people access to phone, text and web chat support whenever they need it acknowledging that some young people prefer to access virtual or digital supports.
New youth primary mental health and addiction programmes have also recently been announced in 10 DHB areas, with more to come over the next few months.