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Time for action on youth, not words, says NZAC

The Counselling Association welcomes justice sector science advisor Dr Ian Lambie’s recommendations on reducing youth crime, but is now urging immediate action.

Dr Lambie’s report recommends 10 ways to tackle youth crime, categorically stating mental health wellbeing plays a major role in cycles of trauma, offending and imprisonment.

President of the New Zealand Association of Counsellors, Bev Weber, is urging the government to turn his recommendations into actions.

“We know investing early in our youth pays a range of dividends at a later stage, yet we continue to do nothing. We mustn’t wait another 20 years before implementing this report’s recommendations.

“We need early intervention in primary and intermediate schools.

“Counselling our youth in developing resilience and building a comprehensive support network will not only help them to mitigate a range of adverse behaviours, but will also play a major role in addressing our country’s suicide rates.”

While Ms Weber admits there is no quick-fix solutions to such a multifaceted problem, she believes there are evidence-based steps that can be employed now.

Addressing the school guidance counsellor to student ratio in secondary schools across the country is one; introducing counsellors in primary and intermediate schools is another.

“By listening to youth, counsellors can understand a young person’s history and circumstances and more importantly, help them flourish.

“We hope the government will take immediate and positive steps to address the youth mental health crisis as a starting point, and hope they appreciate the role school guidance counsellors play in the solution.”

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