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Christchurch charity fundraiser for new outpatient youth mental health facility

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Young people in Canterbury who access Community Services for Children, Adolescents and Families (CAF) are mostly treated in outpatient facilities at Princess Margaret Hospital in Christchurch and the Hillmorton Campus.

But the foundation says old, obsolete buildings need an overhaul.

The Canterbury District Health Board (DHB) approached the charity for fundraising help after the government rejected its request to upgrade in 2019.

Just three days before Christmas, Māia Health announced that $ 315,000 had been raised through the Shine A Light appeal.

All donations up to $ 150,000 were matched by the Rainbow Children’s Trust and two other anonymous donors.

Demand for child and adolescent mental health services in Canterbury has increased by 140% since 2018

Māia chief executive Michael Flatman said he was touched by the huge support from donors and businesses.

“Mental health impacts everyone, and the thought of our most vulnerable young people being treated in today’s dark, broken and unwelcoming facilities is heartbreaking,” he said.

“We promise that every dollar they donated will go to this new ambulatory care facility, which will make a huge difference in the lives of Rangatahi and Tamariki in Canterbury.”

Flatman said the improvements were desperately needed, as demand for child and adolescent mental health services in Canterbury has skyrocketed 140% since 2018.

Last year, more than 4,500 new clients were referred to the Canterbury DHB Youth and Family Service, in addition to its existing workload.

“The current building, it is not suitable for its purpose,” Flatman said.

“So that will help alleviate some of those issues, and it will allow these staff to be able to come up with a range of treatment options that they currently cannot, things like sensory modulation and the use of technology.

“It’s going to make a huge difference.”

Deborah Selwood, CAF services manager at Canterbury DHB, said the outdated facilities posed more of a problem for staff, in addition to their heavy workload.

“We have a passionate and dedicated team, but sometimes we are crippled by the facilities in which we work,” she said.

“Having a tailor-made ambulatory care facility, designed for young people, will be a game-changer for us, enabling us to provide modern treatments and therapies and achieve better outcomes for young people and their whānau. “

It comes after a recent survey of senior doctors found that nearly half of its psychiatrists are considering quitting their jobs.

The Association of Salaried Medical Specialists (ASMS) found that 87 percent of its members did not think they worked in a well-resourced mental health facility.

Respondents said they had not seen any significant change or improvement in the mental health sector since the 2018 Mental Health and Addiction Survey.

And while psychiatrists said their workloads have swelled, 95% said demand for specialist mental health services has increased over the past three years, and 45% said they will quit their current jobs. ‘they could.

The new ambulatory care facility will be based on the outskirts of the Hillmorton campus, in the old Canterbury Linen Services building.

It is hoped that the new facility will be able to open in 2023.

RNZ