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2019 Mental Health, Wellbeing & Addiction Initiatives

Recently, New Zealand’s government put a $1.9 billion mental health package at the centre of its first Wellbeing Budget, to include a new frontline service.

Mental Health

A new universal frontline service for mental health will place trained mental health workers in doctors’ clinics, iwi health providers and other health services. The budget document explains that this means when a GP identifies a mental health or addiction issue they can “physically walk with their patient to a trained mental health worker to talk”. That person will be entitled to have an ongoing relationship with the person in distress, to guide and support their recovery.

There weren’t any details given about the number of trained workers needed to support this, but the budget document says “new workforces will be built to support people, and $212m is included for health workforce training and development.”


What does this mean for mental health recruitment?

Given that this is an important mission for the New Zealand government, it’s Tonix’s responsibility to help health providers search for qualified and passionate health professionals who are experienced in Mental Health. Due to high demand, we need to search for candidates off-shore and have often placed candidates from the UK, Ireland, Singapore, Canada, Australia and the US, however we would encourage people to apply from any country so long as you have your relevant qualifications and experience to allow you to gain NZ professional registration.  This would apply to Registered Nurses, Social Workers, Occupational Therapists and Clinical Psychologists.

By 2023, the mental health service aims to reach 325,000 people with mild to moderate mental health and addiction. Given that it often takes around six months for visa applications to be finalised, we are urgently on the hunt to find mental health professionals to be placed into suitable roles to ensure we can help fulfil this service.  


The government says the measures will “transform our approach so that within five years every New Zealander who needs it has access to a range of free services that support and maintain their mental wellbeing.”
Other notes to take from the budget document is;

  • There will be an extra $20m for new and existing mental health and addiction facilities,
  • Nurses-in-schools programmes will also be expanded, to reach an extra 5,600 students
  • $40m will be put towards developing a suicide prevention strategy
  • Eight programmes will be funded for Maori and Pacific communities, to strengthen personal identity and connection to the community

As the government progress with this mental health budget, there are some really exciting opportunities for New Zealand and overseas mental health and addiction professionals. If you’re interested in being apart of this focus and living in New Zealand, please submit an application here.