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Local Charity Smashes Fundraising Target For Youth Mental Health Facility

Canterbury is a step closer to a new youth mental health outpatient facility, raising $315k in just six weeks through Māia Health Foundation’s Shine A Light appeal.

Māia Health Foundation launched its Shine A Light appeal on 8 November, with a goal to raise $300,000 before Christmas. Rainbow Children’s Trust, along with two other generous donors, dollar-matched any donation made to the appeal, up to the value of $150,000.

The Shine A Light appeal is part of Māia Health Foundation’s major youth mental health focus. The health charity has committed to raise $6 million for a modern, fit-for-purpose mental health outpatient facility for children and young people in Canterbury. Māia is working alongside the Canterbury District Health Board (DHB) to bring the new facility to life.

Māia Health Foundation Chief Executive Michael Flatman says the success of the Shine A Light appeal shows the spirit of Christmas is alive and well in Canterbury.

“Mental health impacts everyone, and the thought of our most vulnerable young people being treated in the current dark, broken and unwelcoming facilities is heart-wrenching. We are humbled by the number of individuals and businesses who have supported this year’s Shine A Light campaign and thank each and every one of them. We promise every dollar they have donated will go towards this new outpatient facility, which will make an enormous difference to the lives of Canterbury’s rangatahi and tamariki,” says Michael.

Since January 2018 there’s been a 140% increase in demand for child and youth mental health services. Last year 4,614 new young people were referred to Canterbury District Health Board’s Child, Adolescent and Family (CAF) service, on top of the service’s existing caseload.

The majority of young people are treated at the current outpatient facilities based at The Princess Margaret Hospital and Hillmorton campus. The facilities are old and outdated and do not support modern treatments. In 2019 the Government turned down a request to fund a new outpatient facility.

Canterbury District Health Board Child, Adolescent and Family (CAF) service manager Deborah Selwood says Māia Health Foundation’s commitment to fund a new facility has given them hope.

“We have a passionate, dedicated team but at times we are hamstrung by the facilities we are working in. Having a bespoke outpatient facility, designed with young people in mind, will be game-changing for us, enabling us to provide modern treatments and therapies and resulting in better outcomes for young people and their whānau,” says Deborah.

Otty has been at patient at the CAF outpatient service. To support Māia’s Shine A Light campaign she shared her experience of the facilities which she described as dark and unwelcoming.

“I want to own my past and use it to support young people of the future. I’m so proud that my experience has been turned into something positive, encouraging people to donate to Māia’s Shine A Light campaign so we can create a warm, welcoming space for young people of the future to get well,” says Otty.

Detailed design work is underway for the new CAF outpatient facility, which will be located at the former Canterbury Linen Services building, on the outskirts of the Hillmorton campus.

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