Minister of Health Dr David Clark and Minister of Greater Christchurch Regeneration Megan Woods say they are pleased to announce that as of today, all Year 1 to 8 children in the 219 primary and intermediate schools in Canterbury and Kaikoura have access to Mana Ake support.

Mana Ake focuses on early intervention to promote wellbeing and positive mental health. The service aims to complement and enhance existing pastoral care support for children and to increase the capacity and responsiveness of wider health services by ensuring the right children access the right support at the right time.

“Mana Ake puts social and mental health workers into schools for one-on-one and group sessions with children to help them deal with anxiety, depression and other mental health issues,” says Clark.

“Mana Ake rolled out to its first schools just over a year ago, on 23 April 2018. It’s a significant achievement to get this much support in place in such a short amount of time.

“For a programme of this scale to roll out to every school within one year shows the commitment of all the agencies and people involved to support our young people.

“As of 31 March Mana Ake has supported over 820 children individually and 475 in groups since the programme first commenced in schools. That’s a lot of young lives that have benefited from being listened to and supported,” says Clark.

Minister Megan Woods says Mana Ake was established in response to the unique mental health needs Canterbury children experienced following the 2010 and 2011 earthquakes.

“This Government recognises that mental health issues in Canterbury is one of the region’s most important challenges, especially amongst young people.

“Mana Ake was originally established to help children dealing with the legacy of events in Canterbury and Kaikoura, and has also proved its worth following the March 15 attacks. For parents to know their children will have access to professional mental health and wellbeing support at school after that incident is a real comfort.”

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