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Extending comprehensive school-based health services to all public secondary schools will benefit hundreds of thousands of New Zealanders, Labour deputy leader Jacinda Ardern says.
Speaking at the Labour Party election year congress in Wellington, Ms Ardern said it was time for fresh thinking so all young New Zealanders got help and support for all their health needs.
Evidence showed schools where pupils had access to a health professional on site who was part of a collaborative team had better mental health outcomes.
Depression and suicide risk were lower by up to two-thirds. Early intervention worked, she said.
''With this policy, the average secondary school will have a full-time nurse and also the support of a GP.''
The investment would cost $40million a year and would be funded by Labour reversing National's $1.7 billion of health cuts, she said.
The health service Labour would fund equated to 240 nurse hours per 100 pupils a year with additional GP support available.
Pupils could go to a health professional in their school and either have all their needs met on site or be referred to youth health services, Child and Youth mental health services or their own doctor.