Order Paper and questions

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House of Representatives
5 April 2012
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7. Mental Health Services, Youth—Prime Minister’s Project

[Sitting date: 05 April 2012. Volume:679;Page:1734. Text is incorporated into the Bound Volume.]

7. MELISSA LEE (National) to the Minister for Social Development: What recent announcements have been made to improve the way the Government deals with young people who have mental health problems?

Hon PAULA BENNETT (Minister for Social Development) : Yesterday the Prime Minister announced a number of initiatives to better support young people dealing with mental health issues. These are designed to provide significantly better, earlier, and more modern help for young people suffering from mental illness. The total contribution of the Prime Minister’s youth mental health package from Vote Social Development is $12.2 million over 4 years.

Melissa Lee: How will this initiative better support secondary students in schools and in their communities?

Hon PAULA BENNETT: Part of the package places specially trained youth workers into selected secondary schools and into youth one-stop shops as part of the youth mental health package. An extra 19 youth workers will be introduced. This will support an estimated 20,000 students in 27 schools at a cost of $8.6 million over 4 years.

Melissa Lee: How will these changes support parents, families, and friends to help young people suffering from mental health issues?

Hon PAULA BENNETT: We know it is not always easy to work teenagers out in any forms, actually, but particularly when they are showing signs of distress, and to know how to respond to that. Parents, families, and friends have an important part to play in identifying mental health issues in young people close to them, and for many of them they are not sure what is a real issue and what is actually normal teenage behaviour. So an extra $1 million over 4 years has been allocated for a new contestable fund for non-governmental organisations to help them get better information out to parents, families, and friends who need it.