Mental health: Government announces funding boost for veterans

The Prime Minister has announced a $1.1 million funding boost to help the Returned Services Association (RSA) deal with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern made the announcement during her weekly post-Cabinet press conference.

"We are seeing cases of post-traumatic stress and many of our young men and women are returning from operational service and do require help," Ms Ardern said.

She said post-traumatic stress has been experienced by veterans "for decades", but has only recently been acknowledged.

Earlier this year, veteran support agencies the RSA and No Duff received on-off grants. Those grants will be locked in for the next four years.

The RSA will receive $250,000 a year for four years.

The No Duff organisation, a registered charity committed to providing immediate support for veterans in need, will receive $25,000 a year.

Symptoms of PTSD include reliving the traumatic event and flashbacks. Sufferers may avoid situations that remind them of the event and may become easily startled.

Minister for Veterans Ron Mark said the announcement is a small but significant part of the overall picture.

"It shows this Government is concerned about the health and wellbeing of all New Zealanders, but it acknowledges veterans have some complex issues which may need more specialist support services," he said.

"It's heartwarming to see organisations such as the RSA and No Duff stepping up and making a difference."

Support lines include:

  • Lifeline: 0800 543 354 (available 24/7)
  • Suicide Crisis Helpline: 0508 828 865 (0508 TAUTOKO) (available 24/7)