Christchurch youth hub expected to ease pressure on mental health services

An artist's impression of the development. Photo: Supplied
An artist's impression of the development. Photo: Supplied
A purpose-built youth hub in central Christchurch is expected to help ease the pressure on inundated mental health services in the city.

Construction of the hub will begin after an additional $2.5 million injection from the Government on Thursday.

It brings the total Government funding for the project to $12.5 million.

It comes after the Herald reported yesterday there is an average 35-day wait time for face-to-face contact under the Child and Youth Mental Health services in Canterbury.

Data released under the Official Information Act showed the average wait time for the first initial contact, by phone, is 11 days but 35 days for face-to-face contact.

That was compared with a four-day average wait time for adults to receive a first contact and six days for face-to-face contact.

CDHB general manager specialist mental health services Greg Hamilton said the CAF service continued to experience significant demand which has grown over recent years.

Over the past 12 months 5197 children and young people have been referred - including 553 in March 2021 alone.

The hub will provide space for about 12 different youth organisations and include facilities for arts, recreation, and training as well as providing job opportunities in an onsite cafe and organic vegetable farm.

Megan Woods.
Megan Woods.
It will also provide transitional housing for 16-24 years olds, where they'll be given social support from qualified, live-in staff. Most will stay from 3-18 months at a time, providing they are involved in formal education or actively looking for work.

"The Government's $12.5 million Covid-19 response funding, is giving in two ways – firstly by providing the initial employment of around 40 full-time tradespeople to build the centre, and then, once built, to help enable the Youth Hub assist its clients."

"The Hub is designed to help those who need it, to get ready for independent flatting and employment with the provision of a one-stop shop model of wrap-around services. I'm very happy to be able to further support the young people of Christchurch after the difficult times they've faced over the last few years," said Housing Minister and Associate Minister of Finance Megan Woods.

"With resource and consents now granted, after a period of delay caused by Covid-19 and a consent appeal, the project is ready to get underway in the coming months," Woods said.

Dame Sue Bagshaw, who has founded the hub, told the Herald she hopes it will ease some of the pressure on the CDHB and other mental health services.

"Especially things like transitioning young people out of state care and making sure young people who most need the help can get the help. In terms of free access and it will be easy to find."

Bagshaw said staff at the hub will be able to refer young people to where they need to go if they don't "fit the bill".

"Hopefully as we keep going and get established we can reach out to other parts of the city and other parts of Canterbury.

"So we've got a hub where we can have good, trained staff who can then move on out and help others in the rural communities."

The hub will be like a "youth one-stop-shop on steroids", she said.














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