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Youth health funding - lifelong improvement

Youth health funding - lifelong improvement

Youth advocates say new money for youth health in today¹s budget
announcement will mean huge improvements for this generation of young
people¹s entire lives.

New Zealand Aotearoa Adolescent Health and Development (NZAAHD) executive
officer Sarah Helm said research showed young people don¹t access health
services if they think they are not confidential, non-judgmental, free, and
physically accessible, she said.

³Young people are in an important phase of development, in which they are
learning to access health care for themselves. If they do not have a good
first experience, it is very possible that they will not return.²

This funding has life-long implications for this generation¹s uptake of
health services when they need it, she said.

Today¹s budget allocates $17.2 million to school-based health services over
the next four years, including an investment in the youth health workforce.
An additional $3.95 million has been allocated to the extension of
ŒAchievements in Multicultural High Schools¹ (AIMHI), which is a healthy
schools initiative.

The announcement comes after more than two years of discussion and advocacy
from NZAAHD, and other key people in youth health.

³Today¹s announcement will save lives. Many young people do not seek help
when they need it, but this is a huge step to remedying that problem.²

The health workforce who focus on young people would be ecstatic that there
is an investment being made to improve their workforce development,
information and pathways in the health system. ³A well-informed, skilled
health workforce is essential for young people to have reliable, safe and
excellent health care.²

Youth-specific services are also based in the community in some areas - such
as 198 in Christchurch, YOSS in Palmerston North, Evolve and Vibe in
Wellington region, KYS on the Kapiti Coast, Waves in Taranaki, Otago Youth
Wellness in Dunedin, and Rotovegas in Rotorua.

³Unfortunately today¹s announcement does not mean more money, nor an
extension of community-based youth health services. These services primarily
serve a group of young people that have high health needs and are not
getting help elsewhere. Many of them struggle for funds²

However, she hopes District Health Boards would increase their support for
these services given the increased focus on youth health, she said.


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