Greens promise free counselling for all under 25s

The Green Party is promising free counselling sessions for everyone under the age of 25, as part of a funding boost of $263 million a year for youth mental health services.

"Free counselling for any young person who wants to talk about the ups and downs they are experiencing with a trained professional will make a huge difference to people's wellbeing," leader James Shaw said on Monday in Wellington.

In addition to free counselling at a cost of $116 million a year, the policy includes an extra $100 million a year of funding for youth mental health services.

The policy includes extra funding for LGBTIA+ support services in schools, teaching mental wellness at schools, extra funding for Crisis Assessment Teams, Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services, and counselling in schools.

The Greens also want to hold an independent inquiry into mental health services, re-establish the Mental Health Commission and fund more community mental health initiatives including continuing to fund suicide crisis organisation Lifeline.

The Greens want to work towards a zero suicide goal. 

Health spokesperson Julie Anne Genter says "Suicide is preventable, it's not inevitable. We have to break the assumption that there's nothing we can do. Government has a very important role to play in empowering families and communities so that they don't have to suffer this type of loss." 

Newshub.

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