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Better mental health support for Canterbury kids

Rt Hon Jacinda Ardern

Prime Minister

22 February 2018

Better mental health support for Canterbury kids

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern returned to Canterbury today to fulfil her commitment to the children of Christchurch and Kaikoura living with the legacy of earthquakes.

“We all want our kids to have a happy and carefree childhood, but sadly for too many that’s not the reality in Canterbury.

“Since 2011, there has been a 93 per cent increase in demand for mental health services for children and young people in quake affected areas. We want to wrap more care and support around these children at an early age.”

The Prime Minister has today announced the first stage of the Government’s plan to deliver dedicated mental health support to primary and intermediate schools in the region.

The first schools to benefit will be in east Christchurch and Hornby, where 13 schools will share six dedicated staff, including community workers and health professionals.

“This is the first step in a $28 million programme that will be rolled out rapidly over the next three years. Ultimately it will result in a mental health worker for approximately every 500 primary and intermediate age school children in Canterbury. Every primary school aged child in Canterbury will have access to a mental health worker.

“This new approach will allow specialist support to be tailored to the needs of individual children, their families and communities.

“Kids will more easily be able to ask for help and someone will be there with the skills to do just that, be it a nurse, a psychologist, a psychiatrist, an occupational therapist or a counsellor.

“This is a practical way to support our kids. It’ll mean that, in their critical early years, young people get all the help they need to grow up safe, healthy and happy.

“There’s no more important task for any Government than that,” says Prime Minister Ardern.


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