Mental health and wellbeing services for young Rainbow Kiwis a step closer

Media release

09 March 2021

Progress to deliver mental health and addiction services designed specifically for young Rainbow New Zealanders has taken another step forward with two procurement processes now open.

The Ministry of Health is making funding available to providers that can either deliver mental wellbeing services for Rainbow young people, or provide training that will contribute to building the capability of the mental health and addiction workforce, in order to respond to the needs of the Rainbow community.

Last month the Government announced the first nationwide funding of $4 million targeted to Rainbow mental wellbeing initiatives, funded as part of the Expanding Access and Choice Programme.

Deputy Director-General, Mental Health and Addiction, Toni Gutschlag says, “we are rolling out new and expanded mental wellbeing services across the country with a focus on priority populations within our communities – it is crucial young Rainbow New Zealanders are included in that.”

“Evidence shows that young people in the Rainbow community are at greater risk of poorer mental health outcomes, driven by the greater risk of discrimination, harassment and bullying. We need to ensure services are available to provide the support required.”

“We’re seeking organisations with services that will promote the protective factors that are required for good mental health and wellbeing, such as safe and responsive interventions, community connection, healthy and supportive relationships, greater whānau understanding, a positive sense of identity, and increased acceptance from society.”

In addition to the $4 million Rainbow mental wellbeing package announced last month, the Ministry has allocated $600,000 over four years to support the mental health and addiction workforce to be responsive to the needs of Rainbow youth communities.

“A skilled and competent workforce equipped to support diverse communities is critical for safe and inclusive mental health and addiction services.”

Mental health organisations are being invited to register their interest in either of these procurement processes. Further information is available at

Background information

The $3.2 million package to expand services for young Rainbow New Zealanders is part of the Government’s $455 million programme to increase access to, and choice of, mental health and addiction services. A further $800,000 has been allocated to topping up the existing Rainbow Wellbeing Legacy Fund which was established as an acknowledgement of those New Zealanders who were convicted for homosexual acts before the law was changed in 1986.

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