Support for Christchurch’s youth with dedicated mental health services at Canterbury University

Green Party of Aotearoa New Zealand

The Green Party is announcing today that free mental wellbeing services will soon be available at Canterbury University, making services available to over 8,000 students.

This dedicated service will be run by the University of Canterbury Health Centre and is part of a $40 million rollout of mental health and addiction services around the country over the next 18 months, where youth is an identified priority group.

As a comprehensive and integrated service, this includes access to free counselling and health coaching onsite within the University Health Centre, as well as social supports delivered by a partner NGO.

“Over the past few years, I’ve travelled across the country and heard from hundreds if not thousands of young people about their need for mental health support”, Green Party Mental Health spokesperson Chlöe Swarbrick said today.

“Early adulthood is a time of rapid change and development, where we develop into patterns we’ll carry for most of our lives, meaning over 80% of all mental health concerns have emerged by the age of 21.

“Grappling with an increasingly uncertain world, moving into an ever-shifting job market and perhaps taking on high pressure tertiary education, we know many younger people understandably struggle to identify if there are problems with them or their circumstances.

“By providing services that support wellbeing, we’re aiming for early detection and intervention which have been proven to set students up well for the rest of their lives.

“In Wellington we have had the Piki programme which provides free counselling for those between the ages of 18 and 25.

“It’s even more important to be able to provide these services in response to the COVID-19 pandemic as many University students have been disrupted during the Level 4 Alert – many financially, if not also in relation to their study or their living situation.

This goes towards fulfilling the Green Party’s Confidence and Supply Agreement with Labour, ensuring ‘everyone has access to timely and high quality mental health services, including free counselling for those under 25 years’.

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