Designed to improve access to mental wellbeing services, the government’s school-based Mana Ake wellbeing programme will expand to more than three thousand primary and intermediate school-aged children living on the West Coast.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Health Minister Andrew Little marked the official beginning of services at Kumara School on the West Coast last week.
It will reach schools in Northland, Counties Manukau, Bay of Plenty and Lakes areas from early 2023.
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,” Health Minister Andrew Little said.
“It can help identify small issues sooner preventing them from becoming big problems.
“One of the real strengths of Mana Ake is it’s co-designed by the local community it’s tailored to meaning that children get support in a way that is meaningful to them,” Andrew Little said.
The programme provides mental health and wellbeing support for children in primary and intermediate school years 1–8. Kaimahi (workers) support schools and whānau when children are experiencing issues affecting their wellbeing.
Mana Ake was announced in early 2018 as part of the Government’s plan to wrap support around children living in earthquake-affected communities in Canterbury and Kaikōura.
Budget 2022 provided $90 million of funding over four years for the Mana Ake programme to enable ongoing service delivery in Canterbury and Kaikōura, and start new services in Northland, Counties Manukau, Bay of Plenty, Lakes and here on the West Coast.
“The full Mana Ake programme is set to benefit around 195,000 primary and intermediate aged children – which is something to celebrate,” Andrew Little said.
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 necessary to ensure fewer young people fall through the gaps,” Green Party mental health spokesperson Chlöe Swarbrick said.
Mana Ake is a cross-agency initiative between Te Whatu Ora – Health New Zealand and the Ministry of Education.
The Associate Minister of (Māori) Health Peeni Henare has also announced the Te Waharoa service at Christchurch’s Purapura Whetu – one of 29 Kaupapa Māori mental health and addiction services funded from Budget 2019’s Access and choice programme.