Engage Aotearoa

Funding Your Treatment

Funding Your Treatment

There are a number of different ways you might be able to access free support, specialist mental-health services, and talking therapy in New Zealand.

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Talk to your doctor
You’re GP is a great first port of call. Ask your local GP about the services available at your DHB’s local Community Mental-Health Centre (CMHC). CMHCs usually provide key workers for practical mental health support, therapy, and psychiatrist services. You usually need a referral from your GP doctor and they usually reserve access for those with the highest need. If you are facing mild to moderate difficulties, your GP will be able to refer you to other options. Some CMHCs accept self-referrals and many will be able to refer you on to other options if you do not need their level of support so it can be useful to give them a call too. You can find contact details for most mental services by searching the Health Point services directory here www.healthpoint.co.nz/

As of 2009, all primary health organisations (PHOs) have funded primary mental health programmes, so for most people your GP practice will have funding – though how the funding is used will differ. If your GP is part of the ProCare PHO, you may be eligible for funded GP mental healthcare AND access to 4-6 sessions of psychological intervention (and in some instances funded psychiatric review if indicated).

ACC Funding for Sexual Trauma
If you have experienced sexual abuse or assault you may be eligible for ACC support to pay for therapy with a clinical psychologist or psychotherapist. You can do this directly through the ACC-registered therapist you approach for support. You can find a list of ACC therapists at www.findsupport.co.nz

Apply for a Disability Allowance from WINZ  
If you need help to pay for counselling services related to a disability or health condition (including a mental-health condition) or if you are in hardship, you may be able to get help from Work and Income. Talk to Work and Income about whether you qualify for a Disability Allowance to help pay for counselling and what you need to do to access it. You may need a medical certificate from your GP. There is a cap on how much assistance can be provided each week and depending on the service-provider’s cost you may need to pay part of the fee.  To find out what assistance may be available, contact Work and Income on 0800 559 009 or visit the Work and Income website www.workandincome.govt.nz If you are deaf or find it hard to communicate by phone, you can send a message to WINZ’s Deaf Link free-fax service on 0800 621 621 or email MSD_Deaf_Services@msd.govt.nz

Apply for a Disability Allowance from StudyLink
Full-time students who are NZ citizens may be eligible for support to pay for therapy through StudyLink, in much the same way as you can through WINZ. Visit the Health and Disability page on the StudyLink website, or phone 0800 88 99 00 to find out more.

Search for services with funded and low-cost options
There are a range of different community services that are funded to provide free support to reach your recovery goals including one-on-one support, groups, peer support, social work services, help getting back into employment and more. You can find these in the Community Support Services section of the directory.

There are a number of free and low-cost counselling and talking therapy services available, such as HELP for people who have experienced sexual violence, and Family Action services for people who have experienced trauma or family violence. Google is your friend. We have collected some of these together in the Community Resources Directory though they are difficult to keep up to date. Don’t be afraid to ask a potential therapist if they have any low-cost or subsidised options. They will often be most happy to advise you of any financial support that is available.

Employee Assistance Programmes (EAP)
If you are in paid employment, you may be able to access free counselling through your company’s Employee Assistance Programme. For more info visit www.eapservices.co.nz or talk to your employer.

Free Phone Counselling
There are a range of different phone counselling lines available nationally. The National Telehealth Service operates a 24/7 phone counselling line staffed by qualified counsellors. Call or text free on 1737 any time to talk to someone.

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