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Barnardos welcomes boost to mental health support

Barnardos welcomes boost to mental health support of Canterbury children

Barnardos says the Prime Minister’s announcement today that Canterbury children will receive more mental health support should help make a positive difference to children’s health and well-being.
Claire Achmad, Barnardos Manager – Advocacy, says “Barnardos works with hundreds of children and their families and whānau in the Canterbury region. We are acutely aware of the mental health challenges many Canterbury children have been experiencing over the past seven years in the aftermath of the earthquakes. Unfortunately, for many children the psychosocial stress and resulting mental health challenges they have experienced – and in many cases are continuing to experience – has been life-changing.”

Barnardos says that the mental health support available to children and young people in the Canterbury region in the aftermath of the earthquakes has been unable to keep up with the growing need, and this has had a negative compounding impact on the trauma experienced by children and their families.
“Through our work, including as a member of Child and Youth Friendly Christchurch, and also through the calls and online chats we have received via Barnardos 0800 What’s Up, we have listened to children from Canterbury telling us that they have been struggling with significant mental health issues associated with their earthquake experiences. Children themselves have been saying for some time now that they need more help from specialist professionals who can provide them with practical support, so they can feel safe and strong again”, says Ms. Achmad.

Ms. Achmad says that as part of its own work supporting children and their families and whānau in Canterbury, Barnardos has been focusing on practical ways to support the resilience and well-being of children. “In areas such as Kaikoura and Hurunui where earthquake stress is still very high for children, thanks to the support of the DHB, the Rata Foundation and Lotteries we have responded with an innovative new programme, Inspire Kids. Children, families and whānau tell us this is having a positive impact.”

However, Barnardos says that it is not too late to make sure that children receive the specialist mental health support they need. “That’s why we welcome the Government’s first step announced today as part of its $28 million dollar investment in supporting the mental health of Canterbury children over the next three years. Barnardos wants to see every child in Aotearoa New Zealand experience a safe and happy childhood. By ensuring Canterbury primary and intermediate school children have access to mental health workers as the Government has said today it will now invest in, we believe children will be better supported to positively deal with the challenges they face, and to develop a sense of hope for the future.”

ENDS

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