Government announces funding for mental health services in tourist towns hit by COVID-19

The money will be spread across five DHBs.
The money will be spread across five DHBs. Photo credit: Getty Images

The New Zealand Government's support of the tourism industry will now extend to mental health services for some of the areas hardest hit by COVID-19.

Tourism Minister Stuart Nash announced on Thursday a $4.5 million investment in mental wellbeing support for District Health Boards (DHBs) in Canterbury, South Canterbury, Southern and the West Coast.

This encompasses the areas of Kaikōura, Mackenzie District, Queenstown Lakes and Fiordland and Westland, and is part of the Government's $200 million Tourism Communities: Support, Recovery and Reset Plan.

"Agreements have now been put in place with DHBs in the lower South Island to deliver this crucial support to regional communities," Nash said.

"The DHBs will provide a range of mental well-being services and initiatives at a local level. They will work with communities to decide what's needed and how it's delivered.

"Businesses, workers and their families in our tourism destinations are facing challenges from border closures designed to keep New Zealand safe. The support in the Tourism Communities Plan allows decisions about wellbeing resources and services to be made by those at the heart of the communities themselves." 

Nash said the Government wants access to this support to be easy for businesses to tap into.