Topic: Health

Free rangatahi mental health pilot for Porirua

By Hone Edwards
  • Wellington

Porirua will be the first community to benefit from a free trial of mental health support.

The Piki pilot scheme will support 18 to 25-year-olds with mild to moderate mental health needs.

Health Minister David Clark says, “It’s not always easy for younger people to navigate the challenges they face or to know where to turn to for help when they need it.  Free access to counseling services and other mental health support for 18 to 25-year-olds will make a real difference.

"Three-quarters of all lifetime cases of mental illness are developed by 24 years of age.  By intervening early to support good mental health and well-being we can help prevent small problems becoming major issues.”

The Piki pilot is designed to do just that.

The minister says programme will cater to people who might otherwise struggle to get help because they can’t afford it, the services aren’t appropriate, or because their needs aren’t recognised.

He says the initiative aims to strengthen existing services, expand access options and the range of therapies available.

“This is exactly the sort of people-centered approach recommended by the Mental Health and Addiction Inquiry.  It reflects the confidence and supply agreement between Labour and the Green Party and I want to thank the Greens for their commitment and staunch advocacy on this issue,” says Clark.

The pilot will be rolled out in Wellington, the Hutt Valley, and Wairarapa regions and is expected to be in full operation across the three DHB regions by the end of the year.

Associate Health Minister Julie Anne Genter says, “Piki will be able to help an estimated 10,000 young people with mild to moderate mental health symptoms across the three DHBs, with the ability to scale up if the demand is higher. 

“We know early intervention initiatives like this have helped in places like the United Kingdom.  However, New Zealand’s population needs tailored solutions that fit our Māori and Pasifika communities. Porirua will be a great place for this much-needed pilot to go ahead.” 

People will be able to access the pilot through many methods– self-referral, contact through the government-funded mental health support line 1737, seeking help from DHBs, their GP and their schools.

Helplines for children and young people

Youthline – 0800 376 633, free text 234 or email talk@youthline.co.nz or online chat.

thelowdown.co.nz – or email team@thelowdown.co.nz or free text 5626. 

What's Up – 0800 942 8787 (for 5–18 year olds). Phone counselling is available Monday to Friday, midday–11pm and weekends, 3pm–11pm. Online chat is available from 5pm–11pm 7 days a week, including all public holidays.

Kidsline – 0800 54 37 54 (0800 kidsline) for young people up to 18 years of age. Open 24/7.

National helplines

Need to talk? Free call or text 1737 any time for support from a trained counsellor. 

Lifeline – 0800 543 354 (0800 LIFELINE) or free text 4357 (HELP)

Suicide Crisis Helpline – 0508 828 865 (0508 TAUTOKO)

Healthline – 0800 611 116

Samaritans – 0800 726 666