Health Minister, Ayesha Verrall says the Government’s new cyclone recovery package announced today will provide dedicated investment in mental health and wellbeing support, including an extension of the Mana Ake programme into every school in the Hawke’s Bay and Tairāwhiti.
“We know from other disasters in New Zealand and globally that mental health impacts emerge over time. The demand for various services will change over the next 6 to 12 months, and our response will evolve to ensure we’re responding,” Dr Verrall said.
“It’s not just the immediate response that’s important, there are longer term impacts on mental health, which is why we’re allocating a total of $10 million to provide additional support for community-led mental wellbeing initiatives.
“It’s why we’re rolling out the successful Mana Ake programme to all Hawke’s Bay and Tairāwhiti primary and intermediate schools to support children impacted by the cyclone.”
Mana Ake works by providing support to schools and whānau when children are experiencing issues affecting their mental wellbeing. The programme will now be expanded from the existing six areas – Canterbury and Kaikōura, Northland, Counties Manukau, Lakes, Bay of Plenty and the West Coast.
“I have heard from local GPs and community providers in the affected areas about what they need in this recovery. We are acting on those requests which is why this Budget also provides $6.1 million to cover community, primary and residential care,” Minister Verrall said.
This funding provides for workforce relief for locum GP, pharmacy and nursing staff, an increase funding for air ambulance for an additional six months and improved access to online GP, community health, mental health and addiction, and registered nurse consultations.
“We also know the devastating weather events have made it harder for some people to get to medical appointments or for specialists to get into affected regions to provide care.”
“In response to this the Cyclone Budget package also covers $8.9 million in funding for front line health providers supporting isolated communities in Northland, Tairāwhiti and Hawke’s Bay
“This includes funding for air and road transport helping people get to appointments, medical outreach, and other hospital services for isolated communities.
“It also funds alternative provision of acute healthcare, and urgent repairs to hospital facilities as a result of the impact of the North Island Weather Events,” she said.
An additional $1.7 million in funding will go toward leasing suitable vehicles to provide access to services, and diesel generators for the operation of health services while repairs are undertaken.
“Finally, $8.3 million is being provided for the Hauora Māori disaster response. This is for urgent services that support whānau wellbeing and the community to recover from the impacts of North Island Weather Events.”
“The health reforms are supporting the regional and national support systems that kick in during a state of emergency.
“This is the vision we have for our health system, where regional and national staff work closely together, tailoring the response to each specific local community or disaster,” Dr Verrall said.