And lastly, we supported Psychotherapist Kyle MacDonald to recommend making counselling and talk therapy universally available and free to all New Zealanders.
We also supported teenager Zoe Palmer who led a campaign to save a specialist mental health service for young people in her hometown of Nelson.
Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) is a unique service that connects young Nelson people in crisis with specialist staff at all hours and has a proven track record in saving lives. Yet the Nelson-Marlborough District Health Board was threatening the service with closure. It proposed blending the service it provides into the adult service where the staff do not have specialist training in working with young people.
Zoe led her campaign to change the minds of the Health Board members — surveying young people, organising public events to network locals and talk about mental health, connecting with politicians, speaking to media and even making a documentary!
Earlier this year, we were approached by the peak body for youth development in New Zealand Ara Taiohi to conduct a piece of research into young people’s perspectives on wellbeing.
In July and August, we gathered the views of more than 1,000 young people (aged 12 - 24) and a handful of youth workers and policy experts about what youth wellbeing looks like in Aotearoa New Zealand.
We turned what we heard into a beautiful report titled Ngā Kōrero Hauora o Ngā Taiohi: A community-powered report on conversations with 1,000 young people about wellbeing that our Director Laura presented at INVOLVE conference to 800 youth workers, philanthropists, policy advisors and young people.
The nine broad themes that rose to the top from the young people and professionals we spoke to in this research are:
Our next steps are to work with a coalition of public health organisations to uncover institutional racism within the health sector and advocate for policy change and government funding to choices to fix it. We will also be advocating that the government boost mental wellbeing funding in Budget 2019.
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