Health Minister, Andrew Little, has announced the start of enhanced mental health and addiction services on campus at Hamilton’s University of Waikato from today – the last of the country’s eight universities to roll out the expansion.
“This is a significant milestone for the Government’s rebuild of the mental health system, but it’s even more significant for the students who now have free and easy access to support where and when they need it,” Minister Little said.
“In September alone, the Tertiary Student Wellbeing investment supported more than 1500 individual and group wellbeing sessions. It makes sense to extend this to all universities, wānanga, institutes of technology and polytechnics so approximately 300,000 students can also access these important services.
“The University of Waikato will now be able to see more students, thanks to new roles including a social worker, mental health nurse, alcohol and other drug counsellor and a violence prevention health promotor, as well as upskill staff to identify those who may need support earlier to prevent small issues becoming bigger ones.”
Youth mental health is part of the Cooperation Agreement between Labour and the Green Party, building on the work of last term in the Confidence and Supply Agreement, the Minister said.
“This funding will unlock more crucial support at the front lines. We will continue to collaborate to make sure all students have access to timely and affordable mental health care, when they need it,” Green Party mental health spokesperson, Chlöe Swarbrick said.
The $25 million Budget 2020 Tertiary Student Mental Wellbeing package is a joint initiative delivered by the Ministries of Education and Health, and is in addition to funding made available to Te Pukenga, which provided more wellbeing supports at the two Auckland Polytechnics.