Youth mental wellbeing and addictions service gets green light from Ministry


20 May 2021

Youth mental wellbeing and addictions service gets green light from Ministry

EaseUp, a community-based youth alcohol and drug service, is to extend its support across Tāmaki Makaurau thanks to new Ministry of Health funding.

A pilot programme launched in June 2019 was developed and funded by Emerge Aotearoa Trust.  Ease-up is a holistic, goal-based programme, co-designed by young people with alcohol and other drug issues with support being provided by a clinician and peer support specialist.    The new funding will increase the age of support to 12-24 years old and expand to work with people experiencing mild to moderate mental wellbeing challenges, as well as providing brief intervention services and support for overcoming substance issues.

EaseUp Service Manager Melissa Latimer says the funding will enable EaseUp to support more young people in more locations. This will include the Auckland and Waitematā DHB areas, as far north as Wellsford and south to Ōtāhuhu. “We identified a gap where there was not enough support for young people in Tāmaki. Now, we can work with rangatahi across Auckland who are also experiencing challenges with their mental wellbeing,” she says.

Melissa says EaseUp’s current team have worked closely with more than 100 young people since the pilot programme launched. The team is growing and will include 18 peer support workers and clinicians.

Feedback from youth who have been supported by EaseUp has been overwhelmingly positive, as highlighted by an independent evaluation by Melatest International into the results of the pilot programme.

“Youth who have used our services have shared that they feel empowered and supported to make changes in their lives. They felt listened to, respected and comfortable to share their emotions and thoughts. The Ministry of Health funding will reduce wait times, increase access, and improve equity for young people,” Melissa says.

Emerge Aotearoa Trust Chief Executive Dr Barbara Disley says that while the Trust Board invested in funding the EaseUp pilot, its goal was to eventually obtain outside funding to expand the programme.

“It’s wonderful news. We knew this innovative model of care worked and decided to invest in it ourselves to demonstrate its effectiveness,” Barbara says. “The EaseUp team have done a fantastic job and are very committed to helping make a difference in the lives of the young people they support.”

To find out more about making a referral to EaseUp, email or phone 0800 432 738.


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