Mental health support for quake-affected regions

  • 09/12/2016

A short-term health package to provide psychological support service to residents in earthquake-affected Kaikoura and Marlborough will be introduced while a longer-term response is considered.

Health Minister Jonathan Coleman says $3.76 million will include funding for six new health practitioners, including a psychologist, counsellor and mental health practitioner.

"We know that after a serious earthquake people can feel stressed and anxious for a long time after the event," he said.

The psychological recovery needs of the communities would change over the coming months and years, he said.

The package also includes $2m to pay the balance of the new Kaikoura Health Te Ha o Te Ora centre which opened in April and has served as a community hub in the aftermath of the devastating magnitude 7.8 quake.

The Government initially committed $10m to the $13.4m project, expecting the community to raise the remaining amount.

They have so far raised $1.4m.

"We have decided to gift $2m to the Kaikoura District Council to clear the balance. Given the challenges facing the people of Kaikoura, we did not want them to be worried about fundraising at this difficult time," Dr Coleman said.

The Marlborough region will also receive funding for six months of free GP visits for Seddon, Ward and eastern rural region residents and three additional health practitioners.