Govt tops up mental health services funding

Under-funded mental health services are about to be given a much-needed cash top-up in the Government's first major investment from the Budget.

Six million dollars has been confirmed for more than 20 existing health centres across the country.

The Government says 170,000 people will benefit from the service, with Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern saying mental health has been neglected for far too long.

"We're committed to taking mental health and addiction seriously," she said on Sunday. 

"Over the next five years we're rolling out free frontline services across the country so that anyone in distress can easily access free support.

"Addressing the unmet need for mental health and addiction support is a long-term challenge, but we're taking immediate action to build on existing services.

"It makes sense to start with those providers already offering mental health support but who have not been previously directly funded by Government for it and who did not have certainty of funding going forward.

"This announcement means these existing providers have the certainty they need to invest in their workforce and facilities. And it means the 170,000 people they serve will continue to get the help that they need when they need it."

There are also plans to roll out free frontline services worth $30 million over the next five years.

"This will be available nationally, allowing local collaborations of health providers anywhere in New Zealand to put forward proposals for their particular region," said Health Minister David Clark.

"We want to see new and existing health providers, iwi and NGO groups put forward their proposals for innovative services to support people living with mental health and addiction issues."



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