The New Zealand Union of Students’ Associations (NZUSA) says it is now time to act to turn the tide on poor mental health facing our students and young people.

NZUSA president Jonathan Gee says they are pleased to see that the Inquiry has acknowledged the many student voices from the union’s Kei Te Pai report, which highlighted the major triggering factors for stress, depression and anxiety amongst tertiary students.

“It is our generation who are facing the effects of unaffordable housing, economic instability and the growing individualisation in our society.”

NZUSA particularly supports recommendations calling for the broadening of access to mental health support, strengthening the mental health workforce, and a whole-of-government approach to wellbeing.

In supporting the recommendations regarding broadening access to mental health support, NZUSA says that too many students and young people are missing out due to long wait times and concern that they are disadvantaging others by taking a counselling session.

“If the Government supports the principle that every New Zealander should have access to mental health and addiction support, then they should prioritise its commitment to free counselling for 18-25 year olds in Budget 2019,” says Gee.

In supporting the recommendation for a whole-of-government approach to wellbeing, NZUSA says that students bring their whole selves to the classroom.

“We know that student brings their whole selves to their classroom, not just their academic abilities. If they are struggling to afford food or pay their rent, are experiencing loneliness, or are experiencing cultural alienation, they cannot succeed academically. We hope that the Government takes up the call for a whole-of-government approach to wellbeing, to really put people and wellbeing at the centre of a range of government services.”

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