Ministry of Health gives WDHB green light for youth community-based mental health service
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10 February 2014
 
Whanganui is one of six District Health Boards (DHBs) selected to receive funding for a new drop-in service for young people wanting to discuss their addiction and mental health concerns with health professionals.
 
The WDHB has successfully applied for, and been granted, funding to cover set-up costs and salaries for additional mental health staff who will run the service expected to be operational by July.
 
In a new twist, WDHB portfolio manager child and youth Jon Buchan is inviting young people to contact him on 06 348 3352 with their ideas as to how the drop-in service could be designed to make it appealing for those using or supporting it.
 
“Because we want everyone using it to feel comfortable about asking for help and advice, it’s important we understand how we can achieve that,” Mr Buchan says.
 
“We’re going to ask our young residents to help us develop a brand that ‘speaks’ to young people. This will mean coming up with a brand name that’s catchy and relevant. Over time, we hope when young people and their families see the brand they will immediately identify it with all WDHB youth services.”
 
Mr Buchan says while the WDHB has services for alcohol and drugs, and services for mental health, what’s been missing is a joining of the two to provide a single point of access for young people who are grappling with one or both issues.
 
“Instead of being hospital-based, we anticipate our new drop-in service for young people will see staff meeting and engaging with youngsters in environments they are comfortable in. This might be in town or on a marae.
 
“This service is expected to minimise young people’s use of, and harm from, substance abuse and that’s all about helping them address their mental health issues by intervening early.
 
“We want to see them doing better at school, having better relationships with friends and family and enjoying a better quality of life overall.”
 
The drop-in service will dovetail with the Whanganui Rising to the Challenge: The Mental Health and Addiction Service Development Framework described as the road map for Whanganui’s mental health and addiction services over the next five years and beyond.