Budget 2022 funding commitments will see the free the Piki youth mental health programme continue to support rangatahi 18-25 experiencing mild-moderate mental health and/or substance use challenges in the Greater Wellington and Wairarapa regions.
Launched in February 2019 as a pilot, Piki has supported over 9,000 rangatahi to date, in 43,000 individual sessions. Piki is provided in partnership with Tū Ora, Ora Toa, Te Awakairangai Health Services, Victoria University of Wellington, Massy University, Mind and Body, Explore and Whakarongorau. Piki employs over 20 clinical practitioners and a range of non-clinical practitioners such as Peer Supporters, Health Coaches, and support workers.
Co-designed by rangatahi, Piki uses a mix of face to face, online, peer-support therapies and education groups that can be accessed by self-referral or a GP. This flexible integrated model was able to pivot and continue during the Covid-19 pandemic, making access easier for young people living in lockdown, rurally or without easy access to transport.
One Piki service user commented, “It was great to have the flexibility to schedule my Piki counselling around my work schedule and to be able to choose from in-person or online options. Services like Piki are so needed by young people like me, going through a lot of challenging times. I’m grateful to have been told about it by my doctor.”
Along with national recognition, the Piki team received the Therapeutic and Clinical Services Award at the Australasian Mental Health Services Awards in Melbourne last October (2021).
“We are really proud of what we have achieved so far by providing a free rangatahi-centric integrated primary mental health programme for our region.” says Justine Thorpe Tū Ora CEO. “With central Government funding commitments to 2026, we can now support many thousands more young people in need, work on aligning Piki within our locality models and move forward with certainty on workforce recruitment.”