Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has announced the first stage of the government’s plan to deliver mental health support to children in Canterbury who have suffered trauma from the earthquakes.
“Since 2011, there has been a 93% increase in demand for mental health services for children and young people in quake affected areas,” Ardern explained. “We want to wrap more care and support around these children at an early age.
“This is the first step in a $28 million programme that will be rolled out rapidly over the next three years. Ultimately, it will result in a mental health worker for approximately every 500 primary and intermediate age school children in Canterbury.
“Every primary school aged child in Canterbury will have access to a mental health worker.”
Teaching organisation NZEI Te Riu Roa welcomed the move by the government.
Teacher Jordan Shallcrass said she saw the effects of the earthquakes every day in children in Christchurch.
“There is a lot of anxiety in children – they still find it hard to focus and to participate in learning experiences,” she said.