Mental health priority for Wellbeing Budget 2019

By Talisa Kupenga

Finance Minister Grant Robertson has confirmed mental health will be one of five top priority areas in Government’s first Wellbeing Budget next year.

Mr Robertson made the announcement on day one of Labour’s annual conference in Dunedin, where a youth panel told the Prime Minister mental health was a key concern for young people.

Young Labour Spokesperson Jesse Thompson says “all across the country they're really pushing for more investment in youth mental health services, Te Reo across primary and secondary schools and menstrual cups; having them subsidised and freely available for all women."

The Minister has hinted there could be a specific focus on mental health for under 25s.

Mr Robertson says "quite clearly the mental health of our young people is a significant issue one that if we know that we don't get right that it has serious consequences."

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says “we have Census telling us that we have amongst young people a really connected group but at the same time a really lonely one and we know that we have mental health issues within that grouping so it makes sense that our next budget will focus on mental health overall."

Growing the economy and child wellbeing were two other priority areas identified, the remaining areas along with details will be announced at December's Budget Policy statement.