One of the things I’m most proud of being able to help deliver as part of our Government is Mana Ake – Stronger for Tomorrow – a new mental health programme that gives every young person in Canterbury access to a mental health worker through their school.
This policy is now fully rolled out, with 219 different primary and intermediate schools in Canterbury now being part of the programme. This offers children who need it one-on-one and group sessions to help them deal with anxiety, depression and other mental health issues.
We know that mental health is a major issue for our young people. The shock of the earthquakes and the trauma of the slow, grinding years of recovery have seen demand for mental health services amongst young people in our region reach twice the national average.
Teachers and parents will have seen this for themselves – young people unable to learn because of anxiety and developmental delays. That’s why we’ve invested $27m in getting every child in Canterbury the support they need.
In just one year, Mana Ake has supported 942 children individually and 578 children in groups. That’s a lot of children that have been listened to and had their issues taken seriously. We’ve also heard from parents who tell us Mana Ake was a huge help for children in the wake of the 15 March attack.
This is a Government that is taking mental health seriously, investing in our children’s wellbeing and tackling the big, long term issues in our community.