The doors will soon be open until late as a Dunedin organisation providing life-saving care prepares to more than double its services.
Te Whatu Ora Health New Zealand (HNZ) Southern confirmed yesterday it had teamed up with Life Matters Suicide Prevention Trust to provide peer support services to those struggling with mental health and addiction.
Co-general manager Clare Curran said this would enable present services to more than double — perhaps even to triple.
“We are relieved, it’s the acknowledgement that peer support is a valuable part of the mental health system.”
Anyone needing help would soon be able to reach the organisation, based at the Hope Centre in Hanover St, 60 hours a week, up from 42 hours a week.
The centre would be open six days a week, including five days where it would not close until 9pm.
Peer support workers provided non-clinical help, sharing the knowledge gained from their own experiences and their peer support training.
It was a service that had been on the fringes of the system, she said.
The partnership follows the 2018 government inquiry into mental health and addiction, and the 2021 Southern Time for Change — Te Hurihanga review.
Both of these found a need to develop more peer support services — a move that Life Matters had advocated for.
The trust had 21 peer supporters in paid and volunteer roles, but HNZ’s funding meant this would soon jump significantly.
Co-general manager Corinda Taylor said the changes were set to be fully in place by February next year, as people had to be recruited and trained.
She was “delighted” Life Matters, which began in 2014, would expand.
Those with lived experience of mental health and addiction issues could make a difference by becoming peer workers, as they inspired hope and showed recovery was possible, she said.