Northland and East Coast addiction services to benefit in Wellbeing Budget

By James Perry

The Wellbeing Budget will see a record $1.9 billion dollars invested into mental health, with $200m set aside to improve mental health facilities.

The government has pegged $14 million over 4 years to make it easier for around 5,000 to gain access to primary care for alcohol and drug issues. 

This will include increased availability of counselling and group therapies in up to four regions, based on community need.

An extra $44 million over four years, will be targeted at improving existing drug addiction services. The focus will be on providing residential care, detoxification services and ongoing support for the more than 2,000 people who are currently receiving assistance.

$200 million of District Health Board capital investments will also be put into upgrading existing, and building new, mental health and addiction facilities around the country. Te Tai Rāwhiti will be one of the first regions set to benefit. A new facility that aims to create a different model of care, combining both mental health and addiction services, will be built in the region.

Another $4 million over four years, will be set aside for Te Ara Oranga in Northland, which provides support for up to 500 people a year who are addicted to methamphetamine and their families. 

Most existing mental health and addiction services are delivered through District Health Boards, either directly or via contracts with non-government and community providers. As part of the overall four-year funding boost to DHBs of $2.3 billion dollars, a total of $213.1 million will go into mental health and addiction services.

As an immediate measure to help people in crisis, the government is also investing an additional $8 million over four years to improve response times for the 15,000 people a year who turn up at hospital emergency departments needing mental health support.