Government’s youth mental health funding package much needed

04 Apr 2012
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Media release – Mental Health Foundation


“The announcement today of an additional $62million funding for a range of youth mental health initiatives is heartening news”, says Mental Health Foundation Chief Executive, Judi Clements.

We welcome the government’s focus on supporting the mental health and wellbeing of young people because so often they are on the receiving end of criticism and derision, almost to the point of being demonised by society, as they have throughout history.

What the government is signalling with this package is the young people are important and that they are our future, a phrase that is often used, but a truth none the less.

The details of the package signal a move towards greater cohesion and focus between those who work with young people in health and education, in primary care and also with parents, family and whanau and communities.

“Greater coordination in this area and a multi-faceted approach can only be a good thing”, says Ms Clements.

Another focus the Mental Health Foundation is pleased to see is that of creating wellbeing and building resilience in young people.

Achieving and maintaining good mental heath is not dissimilar to the things you need to do to support your physical health.

Enabling young people to develop the skills they need to deal with the stresses and frustrations of ordinary everyday life, as well and the additional pressures of the teenage years will stand them to good stead well into adult life.

But it is not just government and its agencies that have a role to play, the involvement, nurturing and support of family and whanau, friends and the wider community in a young person’s life are vital in developing mentally healthy and flourishing individuals.

And while the use of e-technologies has its place especially when communicating with tech-savvy young people, it can never supplant human relationships. For some cultures, face-to-face is the only option and therefore any initiatives offering support and counselling must be culturally appropriate for the young person concerned.

But let’s not forget, there are also young people dealing with difficult and complex situations and getting the support and help they need, when they need it, has to be the most important priority.