PMs Youth Mental Health Project delivering positive results

Hon Dr Jonathan Coleman

Minister of Health

15 December 2016

Health Minister Jonathan Coleman says an independent evaluation of the Prime Minister’s Youth Mental Health Project shows it’s delivering improved outcomes for youth in New Zealand.

“An evaluation by Superu has found that more services and resources are available to identify, support and treat youth with mild to moderate mental health issues,” says Dr Coleman.

“Providing young people with the right intervention at an earlier stage is important to help young people successfully transition into adulthood and prevent the need for more specialist intervention.

“Since 2012 more than 180,000 young people have been reached through the PM’s Youth Mental Health Project.

“The PM’s Youth Mental Health Project has identified a number of effective early intervention services which have benefited young people. 

“Work will continue across government agencies to strengthen the reach and impact of these initiatives.”

The PM’s Youth Mental Health Project’s achievements include:

  • School based health services were expanded to 44 decile 3 schools and above. 20,000 students have accessed these services compared with 5,000 students in 2012.
  • 188 secondary schools are participating in Positive Behaviour for Learning School-Wide, and they have seen a decrease in behavioural incidents and an increase in retention.
  • Over 9,000 HEEADSSS (Home, education/employment, eating, activities, drugs, sexuality, suicide/depression and safety) wellness checks were administered to Year 9 students in 2015/16.
  • Approximately 15,800 12 to 19 year olds were seen by primary mental health services in 2015/1/6 – 4,600 of these were Maori youth and 1,200 Pacific youth.
  • There are shorter waiting times for youth alcohol and drug services – 87 per cent are seen within three weeks, exceeding the national waiting times target of 80 per cent (April 2015 – March 2016).
  • SPARX, an online e-therapy tool was set up for young people with depression in April 2014. Approximately 5,000 12 to 19 year olds have registered to use SPARX.
  • Youth workers are providing support services to at-risk students in low decile (1-3) secondary schools.
  • 102 Canterbury schools are engaged with the school based mental health team to address emerging mental health issues in Canterbury.

The $64 million Prime Minister’s Youth Mental Health Project was established in 2012 with a focus on prevention and early intervention for youth aged 12 to 19 years with, or at risk of, mild to moderate mental health problems.

The Ministry of Health has coordinated the multi-agency project, working with the Ministries of Education, Social Development, and Te Puni Kōkiri.

The evaluation by Superu includes a qualitative evaluation, involving in-depth case studies and a cost-benefit analysis.

Media contact: Angela Kenealy 021 220 0129


Last updated: Thursday, July 11, 2019

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