Mental Health: Government announces cash boost for Youthline

The Government has announced a funding boost of nearly $1 million for Youthline.
The Government has announced a funding boost of nearly $1 million for Youthline. Photo credit: File Image

The Government has announced a funding boost of nearly $1 million for Youthline to provide extra mental health and wellbeing support to rangatahi across New Zealand. 

Youthline is a youth development organisation that offers a free, nationwide helpline service. 

Health Minister Andrew Little says the funding boost will help the organisation to reach far more young people who need support.

"Nearly $1 million will be invested into Youthline to provide additional clinical support which will mean the service can help thousands more young people who need it."

The organisation's Chief executive Shae Ronald adding the funding will make a "huge difference".  

He says it will support the"increasing" number of young people reaching out for help.

"We want people to know that it’s okay to not be okay - and that help is available if they need it. Youthline makes that help available to all young people around the country, at no cost, and providing a choice of phone, email, web chat or text support."

Youthline wants to ensure young people aren't waiting until "crisis point" and can get in touch any time they need support.

"Supporting Youthline means we are supporting young people across the whole country to be able to connect with someone who cares," Little says, adding its "critical" young people are able to access youth-friendly services that reflect their specific needs.

Those needs, he says, have become even "more pressing" in the face of COVID-19.

"Many young New Zealanders are affected by the uncertainty of COVID-19 and its potential disruption to their social connections, financial stability, studies, and living arrangements."

This funding in addition to an initial investment provided last year as part of the COVID-19 mental wellbeing response to lift Youthline's capacity to provide online support to young people

"As well as supporting Youthline, the Government is funding several youth-specific mental health and addiction services around the country.

"Providing mental health services that are specifically designed for young people is one part of increasing New Zealanders access to, and choice of mental wellbeing support," Little says.

It's been announced 10 DHBs will see new and expanded services for young people - and in February, for the first time, rainbow youth mental health received nationwide funding of $4 million.