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$24 Million Boost for Gumboot Friday

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Thousands of young New Zealanders will have better access to mental health services thanks to a $24 million investment in the Gumboot Friday initiative.

Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters and Mental Health Minister Matt Doocey announced that the funding, part of Budget 2024, will be provided over four years to the I Am Hope Foundation. This initiative will offer free mental health counseling to young people aged 5 to 25.

“This funding fulfills a promise from the National-New Zealand First coalition agreement,” said Mr. Peters. “It will allow more than 15,000 young New Zealanders to access free mental health counseling each year through Gumboot Friday.”

Minister Doocey emphasized the importance of prevention and early intervention in mental health. “Gumboot Friday helps young people with mild to moderate mental health needs access services earlier, and also supports those waiting for specialist care,” he said.

This investment supports the government’s commitment to improving access to mental health services, enhancing the mental health workforce, and focusing on early intervention. Partnering with the I Am Hope Foundation, a proven organization, is a key part of this strategy.

Research indicates that every dollar invested in I Am Hope yields a $5.70 social return. “This investment will help young people build a brighter future and improve outcomes across the health system,” said Mr. Peters.

The funding will complement other mental health services, ensuring young people receive the support they need when they need it most.

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