The Government has confirmed $3.25 million in funding to support the immediate mental wellbeing needs of people impacted by Cyclone Gabrielle, says Minister of Health, Ayesha Verrall.
The funding confirmation came as Minister Verrall met with frontline mental health workers dealing with wellbeing issues arising in Hawke’s Bay.
The investment adds to existing walk-in mental wellbeing services in general practice via the Government’s Access and Choice programme.
“This funding includes an expansion of the ‘All Sorts’ mental wellbeing campaign which supports communities with tools to look after each other’s wellbeing,” said Dr Verrall.
“We’re also bringing in a team of mental health workers to offer local support to those most impacted by the cyclone.
“Additionally, Te Aka Whai Ora is designing a Māori-led response to support te ao Māori mental wellbeing solutions.
“I want those facing the worst of it to understand that it’s ok, not to be ok. When you need support, it will be there for you.
“The personal recovery for those who have lost loved ones, livelihoods and homes to Cyclone Gabrielle is going to be incredibly tough. This Government will continue to stand alongside these New Zealanders and make sure they aren’t doing it alone.
“The cyclone certainly struck a terrible blow but being here on the ground in Hawke’s Bay, I’ve seen a strong determination from many to get through these tough times.
“The cyclone is New Zealand’s first natural disaster where we have a pre-existing primary care mental health system, and this investment is paying off for people in these regions.” Dr Verrall said.
As well as free face-to-face services, the Government is also funding a range of free telehealth and digital services for those unable to travel to services.