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Government is ‘reinventing wheels’

The government is being urged to invest more of its mental health Budget spending in providing more public access to counselling services.

The recent Budget saw government announce plans to create new front-line mental health services to address New Zealanders’ appalling emotional wellness issues.

But the president of the New Zealand Association of Counsellors (NZAC), Christine Macfarlane, says the public demand is for existing counselling services that offer more intense and longer-term therapy.

“Take Mike King’s Gumboot Friday fund set up to provide counselling to young people. It’s faced so much demand for counselling that it’s now run out of money.

“School guidance counsellors are another field where the demand is huge – they are run off their feet by students seeking counselling support. We need many more of them in schools.”

Ms Macfarlane says getting more counselling services available both for adults and young people, including school students, should be a priority, because evidence indicates that’s where the public demand is.

She says research also shows that professional counselling, provided by trained and qualified practitioners, is an effective method of addressing both mild to moderate mental health concerns and more traumatic issues.


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