Eastern Bay of Plenty mothers battling mental health and drug and alcohol issues will get help following an announcement from Health Minister David Clark today.

A service for pregnant women and parents would be rolled out in the Eastern Bay, said Clark, who was in Whakatāne to make the announcement.

The intensive holistic service is for pregnant women and parents with children under 3 who experience problems with mental health, alcohol and other drugs.

First launched by the Waitemata District Health Board, the Eastern Bay service will follow along the lines of He Tupua Wai-Ora in Northland, Te Hiringa Matua in Tairawhiti and Te Ara Manapou in Hawke's Bay.

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"The four areas where the service is already in place have some great success stories to share," Clark said.

He said $7 million had been set aside for the two new sites, with the second site yet to be announced.

"The service will be designed for the Eastern Bay by the people who are leading it locally," Clark said. "I would image most of the work will be carried out in the community, but there will be also be a clinical aspect."

He said the main aim was to ensure a "front door approach" where people would have immediate access to services when they need help.

Waiariki MP Tamati Coffey, Health Minister David Clark, and BOP District Health Board chairwoman Sally Webb at the announcement. Photo / Katee Shanks
Waiariki MP Tamati Coffey, Health Minister David Clark, and BOP District Health Board chairwoman Sally Webb at the announcement. Photo / Katee Shanks

"The Eastern Bay was recognised as an area that would benefit from what was on offer in Auckland, Northland, Gisborne and Hawkes Bay.

"When deciding where to roll out the service, we look at things like benefit dependency, challenges with the corrections system and people who have mental health and addiction issues.

"We look across different regions of New Zealand where there are a concentration of people who would benefit from these types of services, people who have complex needs, and that's how we decide."

Clark said he was hopeful the services would be on offer "from now on".

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Bay of Plenty District Health Board chairwoman Sally Webb said, from her own experience, every family wanted what was best for children.

"But sadly here in the Eastern Bay, that doesn't always happen," Webb said.

She thanked Clark for recognising the Eastern Bay's need for the service.

Peta Ruha, Toi Oranga Ngakau change leader for the Bay of Plenty DHB, said solutions to helping women with mental health and drug and alcohol issues lay with the hapū and iwi.

"A connection with whānau has to be the start," Ruha said. "And we have to be brave to do that as a district health board."

It is expected the service will help about 100 women each year.