Funding to improve outcomes for Youth Mental Health

On 4 April 2012 the Prime Minister announced a range of initiatives aimed at improving prevention and treatment services for young people with, or at risk of, mental health problems such as depression, anxiety, conduct disorder and substance abuse.

Mental health is a big issue for teenagers. Around one in five will experience some form of mental health problem during this crucial time in their lives. Even a mild mental illness can have a big impact on young person’s life and on those around them. Teenagers and parents often don’t understand what’s going wrong or what to do about it. These initiatives build on successful existing programmes and trial promising new ones. Within the education sector, we will be focussing on;

  • Improving how school boards promote student wellbeing in their school by: 
    1. An ERO review of how school boards currently promote wellbeing and provide safe emotional environments for their students, including the use of guidance funds and the role of guidance staff in schools 
    2. ERO developing indicators of student wellbeing, inclusion and engagement, for school boards to use to identify and implement priorities for changes 
    3. The Ministry undertaking a work programme to improve the school guidance system (addressing issues such as funding, quality of provision, professional standards, training and accountability). 
  • Expanding and trialling universal programmes that prevent anxiety, depression and conduct disorder, and services to support those experiencing mental health concerns by: 
    1. Trialling the FRIENDs programme in secondary schools (Friends is an NGO- delivered programme in schools shown to decrease anxiety and depression for youth, long term). 
    2. Expanding Positive Behaviour School Wide to include more secondary schools. Positive Behaviour School Wide is a whole school programme that decreases conduct disorder behaviours, while increasing learning achievement and pro-social behaviour. 
  • Expanding the provision of specialised prevention programmes or approaches that are targeted at those at risk by 
    1. Trialling, evaluating and expanding the Check and Connect programme in schools which is shown to re-engage students in education and decrease mental health issues
    2. Supporting the integrated attendance service and youth pipeline providers to identify students at risk of, or experiencing mental health problems, and to provide appropriate referral to school and community-based health services and other available supports.

$16.863 million over five years will be required to meet the costs of the initiatives.

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