Rural youth to benefit from expansion of mental health programme

Under the programme young people can self-refer, and receive support through a dedicated app.
Under the programme young people can self-refer, and receive support through a dedicated app. Photo credit: File

The Associate Health Minister says the expansion of a youth mental health pilot into Wairarapa will benefit young people in rural areas who find travel a barrier to treatment.

Piki is a pilot programme which helps 18-24 year olds with mild to moderate mental health needs or substance use challenges.

The programme was launched in February in Porirua, before being expanded to the entire Wellington DHB area. 

It's now been rolled out to the Wairarapa DHB region.

Associate Health Minister Julie Anne Genter said it was good news for young people living in the region.

Associate Health Minister Julie Anne Genter announced the expansion of the programme.
Associate Health Minister Julie Anne Genter announced the expansion of the programme. Photo credit: File

"Young people can self-refer, including via the Piki website, and receive support through a dedicated app," she said. 

Traditional means such as a GP referral were also available.

"These methods mean Piki will greatly support rural youth, for whom a traditional appointment at a dedicated location can be a barrier to access due to difficulties with travel and others.

"The peer support function will also mean young people can receive support from others who have lived experience and can reflect their unique way of living whether they are in a rural or isolated community," said Genter.

The programme was on track to see the 10,000 young people it was estimated it would support over the pilot period. 

"Piki has increased the number of counsellors in the Wellington, Hutt and Wairarapa DHB regions, offering youth-friendly services in locations which work for them.

"This is exactly the sort of people-centred approach recommended by the Mental Health and Addiction Inquiry."

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