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Gumboot Friday: $24 Million Funding For Free Youth Counselling Crucial Support For New Zealand’s Struggling Youth

Gumboot Friday, an initiative under the youth mental health charity I Am Hope, which provides free counselling services to young New Zealanders, has expressed deep gratitude for the government’s announced $24 million funding over four years, calling it a crucial lifeline for countless young people facing mental health challenges across the country.

“We are incredibly thankful for this funding. Every dollar will go directly to our free Gumboot Friday counselling service, helping young people throughout New Zealand. This funding will allow us to onboard over 50 ethnically more diverse counsellors, including those from Indian, African, Latin American, North American, Asian, and Middle Eastern backgrounds.

“Additionally, we aim to include a higher proportion of Māori and Pacifica counsellors to expand our reach and better serve our diverse communities," said I Am Hope founder Mike King.

King highlighted the urgency of addressing the escalating mental health crisis among young people, noting that the situation is worsening. “The soaring demand for youth mental health services, with Gumboot Friday experiencing a staggering 500% increase in just two years, is a stark reminder that we cannot afford to slow down.”

In 2021, Gumboot Friday funded 550 sessions monthly at a cost of $78,000. Now, it finances over 3,400 free sessions each month at a cost of $510,000, with this number expected to grow as awareness of the service increases.

Beyond Funding: The Importance of Collaboration

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King also stressed that this funding is just the beginning. “The work doesn’t end here; it only begins,” he said. “Grassroots and community organisations such as the Mental Health Foundation and Voices of Hope are also doing valuable work and need our support.”

Gumboot Friday is calling for greater collaboration between the government, community organisations, and individuals to tackle the mental health crisis head-on. “It’s time to break down bureaucratic barriers, come together, and prioritise getting real help to those in need,” King concluded.

“Together, we can create a New Zealand where every young person has access to the support they deserve.”

About Gumboot Friday: A Success Story

Core Mission: Gumboot Friday is a nationwide programme under the I Am Hope charity that provides free counselling services to young New Zealanders aged 5 to 25.

Removing Barriers: Gumboot Friday works to eliminate financial, geographic, and bureaucratic obstacles that might prevent young people from seeking mental health help. This empowers them to get the support they need and build a brighter future.

Unparalleled Transparency & Data Collection: Gumboot Friday utilises real-time data collection and analysis, ensuring unprecedented transparency. This guarantees that every dollar is directed towards areas of greatest need. The data also provides valuable insights for continuous programme improvement and helps map mental health trends across demographics.

Efficient Operations & Lasting Impact: Despite being the largest private funder of mental health services in New Zealand, Gumboot Friday maintains low administrative costs through streamlined onboarding and automated platform support. An independent social impact report found that the programme delivers a significant return on investment, with a 570% social return for every dollar donated. Real-time data collection allows for ongoing programme improvement.

Innovative Platform: Gumboot Friday’s user-friendly software platform enables young people to browse a network of registered therapists and find the perfect fit for their needs.

Faster Access to Care: Unlike the public sector’s lengthy wait times, Gumboot Friday clients receive a response within two days and can have their first counselling session within two weeks. Therapists also benefit from a user-friendly portal for managing their profiles and clients, with automated invoicing to streamline the process.

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