26 Nov 2019

Thousands more people to get mental health training

3:05 pm on 26 November 2019

The government has announced up to 12,000 more people will receive mental health training over the next four years.

Stock photo.

Stock photo. Photo: 123rf.com

Making the announcement in South Auckland today, Health Minister David Clark said more than 300 nurses would be trained to offer mental health assessments to people when they visit their GP.

This is part of the government's mental health and addiction workforce initiatives.

Furthermore, 8000 places on the Mental Health and Addiction 101 programmes will be created for people in community organisations and new training programmes for health coaches and health improvement practitioners will also be developed.

"The more people who know how to identify when someone is in need, and understand how to have a conversation that leads to someone getting help earlier, the more likely we are to break the cycle and prevent someone reaching a crisis point.

"That's the sort of support we need to see in communities up and down the country."

Dr Clark said more than 3000 spaces on the cultural competency programme will also be created.

The extra training would make it easier for health workers to identify who needed support, he said.

The Ministry of Health is currently assessing the proposals for new frontline services it requested in September. New services are expected to be contacted at the start of next year, Dr Clark said.

"We're developing a range [of] services. We need tailored support for Māori, Pacific peoples, rural communities, LGBTQIA+, youth and others - and we're working with those communities so that we get services that work.

"That will take time, but we are getting on with [the] job because it will mean better health and wellbeing for more New Zealanders," Dr Clark said.

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