114,500 seek help from mental health support services

By Stefan Dimitrof

Te Hiringa Mahara (the Mental Health Commission) says results from the first three years of a government programme to provide greater access to and choice of mental health and addiction services for people experiencing mild to moderate mental health and addiction needs are encouraging.

Te Hiringa Mahara chair Hayden Wano (Te Atiawa, Taranaki, Ngāti Awa) said good progress had been made with 114,500 people seeking services.

“Very encouraging results for kaupapa Māori; we’ve seen an increase over that year to June 2022 to 17 kaupapa Māori providers, so we are just trying to build capacity.”

Those Māori service providers had provided easy access to youth services for rangatahi Māori.

Wano said the kaupapa Māori providers were having great success in recruiting and filling positions in an otherwise difficult time.

The funding provided for the Access and Choice Programme, which began in 2018, has reached its halfway mark. Wano said the investment had yielded beneficial outcomes and had proven to be a positive investment.

“Those 114,000 people received services they otherwise wouldn’t have received in the past.”

“One of the things that we did pick up is that a lot of people aren’t even aware of it, so building some awareness of it will go some way, and in the long term there will be a challenge around workforce.”