As part of the Prime Minister’s Youth Mental Health Project to improve the mental health and wellbeing of young people, primary mental health services have now been extended to all young New Zealanders aged between 12 and 19. The expected outcomes of these services are to enable early identification of youth developing mental health and/or addiction issues and better access to timely and appropriate treatment and follow-up for those who need it.
Services vary according to local priorities and needs and are available to all young people regardless of PHO registration. New and innovative approaches have been taken to ensure services are targeted to local needs, working in partnership with general practice, school-based services, iwi providers and NGOs.
The evaluation found that the Youth Primary Mental Health services have contributed to:
- Improved quality, safety and experience of care through enhanced youth-friendliness, development of new and innovative approaches to supporting youth and an upskilling of the workforce
- improved health and equity for youth as demonstrated through increased access rates for Māori youth (32% of youth seen compared with 21% of youth population)
- achieving positive outcomes such as reduced stress and reduced symptoms of anxiety and depression, indicating a positive return on investment.