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Budget: Youthline supported to help young people

7 May 2003 Media Statement

Budget 2003

Youthline supported to help young people

Youth line will get $400,000 over four years in Budget 2003 in recognition of their important role in helping young people in their time of need, says Progressive Leader and Associate Health Minister Jim Anderton, who chairs the Government's Ministerial Committee on Drug Policy.

"This initiative will help to fund two staff to manage and supervise the Youthline volunteers to work towards the 24 hour, 7 day a week telephone crisis service.

"Youthline's important role in providing assistance to youth can be crucial in helping reduce suicides.

"It has come to my attention that the crisis phone line service can respond to only approximately 10 per cent of incoming calls, leaving an estimated 20,000 crisis calls unanswered, some of which are likely to be from suicidal young people. This funding will go someway toward addressing this problem," said Jim Anderton.

Stephen Bell, director of Youthline, said: "This grant will enable Youthline to take a huge leap towards a 24-7 service through providing greater supervision. We know we must be missing a lot of desperate young people who try to get in touch with us outside our current hours. The government's support is vital to enable us to reach them at their time of greatest need.

"Youthline is at the forefront of the battle against youth suicide and drug dependency, and we applaud the way the Government is working together with us to achieve better outcomes," he says. "Through the continuing support of government and companies like GlaxoSmithKline, Youthline is working to ensure our nation's youth have a better future. This is a great example of the community working together to ensure our young people reach their full potential."

Jim Anderton has already announced a range of measures to support the Youth Suicide Prevention Strategy as part of Progressive Party budget bids. These were:

- Funding for families where a suicide has been attempted or where there has been a suicide ($ 2.6 million over four years).

- Funding to support the Youth Suicide Prevention Strategy within Youth Affairs (an additional $150,000 in 2003/4 and 2004/5 and another $75,000 next year to review the effectiveness of the strategy).

- Residential Drug Youth Rehabilitation centre in Christchurch for $620,000 operating expenditure and $250,000 in one off capital expenditure.

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