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Second Gumboot Friday Needed To Raise Funds For Kids Free Counselling

Mental health advocate and I AM HOPE founder Mike King says New Zealanders need to pitch in a second Gumboot Friday this year, to raise adequate funds for young people’s free counselling in New Zealand.

Due to Gumboot Friday’s incredible growth, the $943,000 raised in this year’s Gumboot Friday campaign will only last for three months of counselling services paid for by the charity.

Mike King says while he’s grateful to every New Zealander that played their part, he is worried for the future of young people who need help, when these funds run out.

“I am so grateful to the amazing work of our supporters all over the country who did their absolute best, but I was really disappointed when I found out how much we actually raised because I truly believe we lifted people’s expectations that the help is going to be there, when the reality is in three months’ time, the money is going to run out,” he says.

“What will our kids do then? The thought keeps me up at night. The families who contact me in fear for their children’s lives or loved ones keep me up at night,” he adds.

Despite funding of $1.9 billion from the Government to address New Zealand’s mental health crisis, the Ministry continues to deny Gumboot Friday funding, most recently citing a missed deadline. King says the Ministry “is the bottleneck and they won’t get behind innovation even when the proof is right in front of them. If it’s not their pet idea they don’t want to know.”

“We started Gumboot Friday at the coalface in 2019 and already the impact is huge. The Ministry has a massive budget and little to show for it, spending more on consultants than we spend on counsellors,” says King.

“We have a proven, world class system giving our young people access to counsellors they choose. All counsellors and therapists accessed on our platform are police vetted and registered with NZAC, NZPB, PBANZ, SWRB, NZCCA. Our average waiting times are six days, while the Health Ministry’s is months.

“By our calculations Gumboot Friday’s is providing about 25% of the total equivalent access services provided by all of New Zealand’s District Health Boards as reported in Ministry websites. But somehow, we don’t ‘qualify’ for funding,” King points out.

Gumboot Friday supports and complements DHB services by taking the pressure off the public system and helping young people access services as and when they need them. All funding is tracked directly to counsellors, is transparent and auditable. While Gumboot Friday can report usage every day, the Ministry and DHBs take months to report on their counselling services for young people.

Already this year, over 2000 young people from all over New Zealand have used Gumboot Friday’s platform to access thousands of professional talk therapy sessions. All sessions were arranged directly between the client and the therapist, most were face to face. Of Gumboot Friday users seeking help, 66% are young women, demonstrating a significant need. King says the winter months, social pressures and Covid are all factors.

At current usage rates, the Gumboot Friday service in 2021 will achieve 100% growth over the previous years’ levels. Gumboot Friday is in demand, responding to the gap in accessible mental health services for our young people across New Zealand.

12 months 2019 to 2020 NZ Mental Health non urgent waiting times

How many "clients seen" Age: 0-19 under 3 weeks % under 3 weeks

Total patients seen NZ Total seen

All DHBs 14766 9616 65%

Gumboot Friday 2427 2427 100%

Patients seen by region

Total seen Seen in under 3 weeks

Northern 6388 4440

Gumboot Friday 2427 2427

Southern 3474 2039

Central 2556 1697

Midland 2348 1443

Individual DHB performances      
    Total seen Seen in under 3 weeks 
Gumboot Friday  2427 2427 100%
Waitemata  2049 1399 68%
Auckland   1943 1325 68%
Counties Manukau  1828 1323 72%
Canterbury  1493 848 57%
Southern   1049 730 70%
Waikato   877 519 59%
Capital coast  804 450 56%
Bay of plenty  792 539 68%
Hawkes bay  653 485 74%
Nelson Marl  591 258 44%
Northland   568 393 69%
Taranaki   365 208 57%
Whanganui  330 272 82%
Midcentral  317 241 76%
Lakes   279 145 52%
Hutt Valley  260 145 56%
Wairarapa   192 104 54%
South canterbury  187 117 63%
west coast   154 86 56%
Tairawhiti   35 32 91%
Total   14766 9619 65%


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