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National Depression Initiative ten years on


Hon Dr Jonathan Coleman
Minister of Health

31 October 2016
Media Statement
National Depression Initiative ten years on

Health Minister Jonathan Coleman says the National Depression Initiative (NDI) has continued to evolve and expand since its launch a decade ago.

“Over the last ten years the NDI has had an increasingly important role in utilising technology to ensure people have access to the help and support they need, at a place and time convenient to them,” says Dr Coleman.

“At the core of the NDI is two comprehensive websites, which are supported by a free and confidential 24/7 helpline 0800 111 757 and text services 4202 (for adults) or 5626 (for young people). Both phone services are part of the National Telehealth Service.

“For youth there is thelowdown.co.nz which offers information and tools for handling life issues, stress, depression and anxiety. This section offers a safe forum where teens can ask questions. The website has had almost 87,000 users in 2015/2016 and around 1.5 million unique users since its launch in 2010.

“For adults there is depression.org.nz. This includes The Journal, a self-management tool fronted by Sir John Kirwan, which helps people stay positive and make lifestyle changes. From next month it will also be available on mobile devices.”

Since its launch the depression.org.nz website has had around four million unique users. There’s been a significant uplift in the number of people using the website in the last three years. Going from 620,000 in 2013/14 to over one million in 2015/16.

Over recent years both websites have been improved to respond to a wider range of needs. This includes recognising that specific groups have been identified as needing additional support, including Maori, Pacifika, deaf people, rural communities, and the LGBTI community.

“The drivers of mental health and addiction are complex. In line with international trends, we’ve seen an increase in demand for mental health and addition services,” says Dr Coleman.

“To help meet this increased demand, the Government has invested an extra $300 million into mental health and addiction services. Taking the total health spend in this area to over $1.4 billion for this financial year.

“In Budget 2016 we invested $12 million to further increase support for people to access mental health services at an earlier stage.

“From early 2017 we will be rolling out a mental health triage system for the national telehealth services, this 24/7 service include Healthline and 111.

“The new system will involve a trained expert being on hand to take mental health related calls. It’s expected to benefit around 45,000 callers a year.”

ends

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