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Help For Young People And Mental Health

MEDIA RELEASE

EMBARGOED UNTIL 11 AM TUESDAY 6 JULY 1999

Hon Wyatt Creech Minister of Health 6 July 1999

The Ministers of Health, Welfare and Education today released a resource designed to help people working with children and young people with issues of mental health.

"Promoting mental health amongst young people is a priority. When children and young people are struggling, it is vital that they are given the support they need," Mr Creech said.

"The booklet, Better Times launched today aims to do just that. At the most basic level all this may mean is listening to a child, or at the other end of the scale it may mean ensuring a child is referred to a specialist mental health if mental health problems are suspected.

"It promotes mental health in children and young people by providing information to a wide range of agencies and organisations whose staff come in daily contact with children and young people, but who are not experts in mental health.

"It is a practical tool which will help workers promote mental health, recognise when problems are arising, to judge when help is required and to make referral to appropriate services when necessary.

"Last month the Mental Health Commission's review of child and youth mental health services showed where the gaps in specialist care for children and young people were, and we are working to plug up that gap.

"But specialist services are only one part of the picture, it is also important to ensure that we can respond to distress in children and young people at ground level by providing help and support at an early stage so that more serious illness does not develop.

"This publication works hand in hand with other Strengthening Family initiatives which include improving the links between CYPFA and mental health services, early identification programmes, such as the Family Start and Social Workers in Schools programmes, and improving the provision of specialist mental health services for children and youth."

Better Times will be distributed to people through out the health, education and welfare sector including all schools, early childhood services, Hospital and Health Services, Plunket nurses, public health nurses community workers and police aid officers.

ENDS


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