Govt’s mental health roll-out gains momentum

  • Hon Andrew Little

The Government is increasing the number of funded clinical psychology internships and the payment interns receive on placement to support more students to choose clinical psychology as a career and address mental health workforce demand.

By 2024 we will have increased the number of interns to 40 every year, along with funding for the internship to nearly $60,000 a year.

“Since coming to Government in 2017, we’ve more than trebled the number of funded clinical psychology internships available across the health sector,” Health Minister Andrew Little said.

“After years of no growth, we lifted the number of internships from 12 in 2017 to 28 this year. “This will now increase in 2023 to 38 and to 40 for each year after that.

“We’ve already increased the payment interns receive by 40 per cent to nearly $60,000 each.

“This is part of the Government’s wider work to support and upskill our existing mental health workforce, as well as grow the pipeline of people coming to work in mental health and addiction roles.

“This is a significant contribution and one we know will encourage more people to consider studying towards a career in clinical psychology,” Andrew Little said.

Enhancements to the psychology intern programme, including the trial hubs where interns now have the opportunity to work across multiple services with multiple clinical supervisors, including regional, ICAMHS and adult mental health services, are just one part of a wider workforce development programme.

“The Government is also funding free access to a range of talking therapy training programmes for people working in Mental Health and addiction. These include courses in cognitive behavioural therapy for children and young people, youth addiction, and Kaupapa Māori models of talking therapy,” Andrew Little said.

“Work is also under way to deliver more support and training for those providing mental health and wellbeing supports to refugees, migrants and Asian communities,” Andrew Little said.

“Primary mental health and addiction services are an area experiencing increasing demand. On the back of the $1.9billion Wellbeing Budget investment, the Access and Choice programme is helping tens of thousands of New Zealanders every month and has recently celebrated reaching 1000FTE roles under contract,” Andrew Little said.

“That means the delivery of important services that simply didn’t exist before the 2019 Wellbeing Budget, bringing services closer to home that are available when and where people need them.”

The Government has already announced the first ever accreditation pathway for counsellors to work in publicly funded roles, and Budget 22‘s investment of $76 million over four years to develop the health workforce that includes a focus on primary care.

Additional information on workforce training initiatives:

Talking Therapies Training

Professional development opportunity available to anyone from the mental health and addiction workforce who has an undergraduate degree and wants additional post-graduate training in brief intervention, youth addiction and cognitive behavioural therapy for children and young people.

Also, professional development for a Kaupapa Māori approach to talking therapies and intervention.

Cultural Competency Training Programmes

Soon-to-be-free and widely available online modules and in-person tutoring for the improvement of cultural competency when working with Asian, migrant and refugee populations.

Development of MH&A e-learning modules for community pharmacists.

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