Budget 2022: $90m for mental health support in schools

Providing better mental wellbeing services and support in schools is the aim of a $90m Budget 2022 boost.

In a pre-Budget 2022 announcement on Tuesday morning, Associate Education Minister Jan Tinetti joined Health Minister Andrew Little to unveil the plans to expand Mana Ake services across five regions. They outlined how 195,000 primary and intermediate aged children are set to benefit from the expansion of services.

“In Budget 2022 Labour will deliver on its manifesto commitment to expand Mana Ake, with $90-million set aside to start services in Northland, Counties Manukau, Bay of Plenty, Lakes and West Coast regions, as well as continue existing services in Canterbury and Kaikōura,” Little said.

“Mana Ake is a school-based programme that gives children the skills and support to deal with issues that include grief, loss, parental separation, and bullying. It also provides advice, guidance and workshops for parents, whānau and teachers.

“We know that early intervention is one of the best ways we encourage better mental wellbeing for young New Zealanders and through their lives. Mana Ake empowers children with resilience and support, when and where they need it, to confidently cope with whatever life throws at them.

“Supporting resilience in our kids today is part of growing the confident adults of tomorrow.

“Expanding Mana Ake is one way we will help strengthen New Zealand’s economic security for generations to come,” said Little.

“Following the Christchurch and Kaikōura earthquakes, the feedback from parents and the education sector was that this programme made a real difference in the lives of many young people,” Associate Education Minister Jan Tinetti said.

Jan Tinetti

“One of the real strengths of Mana Ake is it’s co-designed by the local community it’s tailored to. That means important considerations such as cultural competencies are observed, and children get support in a way that is meaningful to them.”

Youth mental health is part of the Cooperation Agreement between Labour and the Greens.

“Everybody should have access to mental health support when they need it. The expansion of Mana Ake is an important and necessary step to ensuring fewer young people not only no longer fall through the gaps, but develop understanding of their own and other’s mental health,” Green Party mental health spokesperson Chlöe Swarbrick said.

“Local co-design for each of the new Mana Ake areas is well underway, and we expect to see the first areas commence service delivery later this year,” Little added.

Heather Barker Vermeer

Heather has worked as a journalist, writer and editor in England and Aotearoa New Zealand for over 20 years. She fell in love with words when she received a 'Speak & Spell' tech toy for Christmas in 1984.
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