National youth mental health unit underway

Hon Dr Jonathan Coleman

Minister of Health

30 October 2014

Health Minister Jonathan Coleman today turned the first sod at the site of the new $15.3 million national youth forensic mental health unit in Wellington.

“The Government recognised the need to improve specialist youth forensic mental health and addiction services in New Zealand,” says Dr Coleman.

“We realised there was a need to invest in the bricks and mortar and the staff and services available to our vulnerable youth.

“That’s why in 2011 the Government allocated $33 million for the development of youth community and inpatient mental health services.”

Today’s sod turning at Kerepuru Hospital in Porirua marks a significant milestone. The 10-bed national youth forensic health unit will be the first secure facility of its kind in New Zealand.
“Currently youth offenders with severe mental health problems are treated in adult facilities or in the community,” says Dr Coleman.

“Once completed, this new $15.3 million unit will play a valuable role in offering youth specific holistic care. It will also help address the underlying causes of offending by young people suffering from severe mental illness.

“Of the $33 million investment into youth mental health services a further $15 million is being pumped into the community youth forensic workforce which will double to around 75 full-time clinical positions nationwide by mid-2015.”

The new unit at Kenepuru Hospital is being built and run by Capital and Coast DHB. It is expected to be operational by April 2016.

Media contact: Kirsty Taylor-Doig 021 838 372

Last updated: Tuesday, November 4, 2014

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