The Wellbeing Budget

Taking mental health seriously

Hāpaitia Te Oranga Tangata

Mental health and addiction treatment and support services contribute to reducing reoffending and improving the health, wellbeing and quality of life of vulnerable people, including those who are in prison.

The Wellbeing Budget will significantly increase access to existing mental health and addiction support for offenders to meet the high levels of unmet need both in prison and in the community. As mentioned previously, $124.4 million over four years has been provided for this programme.

Corrections Minister Kelvin Davis says 91 per cent of people in prison have a lifetime diagnosis of a mental health or substance use disorder.

"Current mental health services help 8,000 people a year through the Corrections service. We need to grow those services to reach even more people in our care," Kelvin Davis says.

This expansion of mental health and addiction support services for offenders will be rolled out over four years and will deliver:

  • Mental health services for up to 2,310 offenders per year with a mental health need. Enabling national coverage of mental health services across prisons and community Corrections sites.
  • A family/whānau service for the family/whānau of offenders who need mental health services. Up to 275 families will be supported per year.
  • Supported living accommodation for offenders with intensive mental health needs who are transitioning to the community. Up to 30 offenders will be supported in total each year.
  • Expanded social worker and trauma counselling services to help offenders reconnect with their whānau/children, address personal trauma, and transition back into the community. Up to 800 prisoners will be supported each year.
  • Alcohol and Other Drug (AOD) intensive treatment in prisons. Up to four additional treatment programmes will be established, and the 11 existing programmes will be enhanced, enabling up to 204 participants to access treatment per year.
  • Expanding AOD testing and harm-reduction support interventions in the community will provide AOD tests and alcohol detection anklets to ensure they avoid drink driving.
  • AOD aftercare support services. Offenders will be able to access the relapse support prevention they need.

An additional $6.2 million is going into support for the victims of crime and making their mental health a priority.

Justice Minister Andrew Little says the initiative aims to ensure the justice system responds safely and effectively to victims while providing mental health support.

This will be done through funding victim support to improve its capabilities so it can manage mental health services.

"The new plan includes employing specialist caseworkers with mental health experience to support families bereaved by homicide, in their recovery and help them navigate the criminal justice system," Andrew Little says.

"Victims will get constant support from the same person. To limit confusion a single, consistent professional point of contact will be appointed to manage their needs until they no longer need it or their engagement with the criminal justice system ends."

The wellbeing approach in action – Hāpaitia te Oranga Tangata

This programme runs across three Budget priorities: Improving child wellbeing, Supporting Māori and Pasifika aspirations and Taking mental health seriously.

Finance Minister Grant Robertson says Hāpaitia te Oranga Tangata is a clear example of the Wellbeing Approach in Action with ministers working across their portfolios to focus on breaking the cycle of reoffending.

The programme involves Justice Minister Andrew Little, Corrections Minister Kelvin Davis and Police Minister Stuart Nash.

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