Mental health in children and youth has become an increasing concern and is apparent throughout Family Works sites

The difficult reality we face every day is that children are increasingly needing counselling services for mental health and trauma. The demand has increased, putting the lives of our youngest people at more risk.

Increase of demand for tamariki and youth

In 2021 to 2022, there were 150 tamariki and youth needing counselling in Upper Hutt, and in 2022 to 2023, it was reported that 230 tamariki and youth were waiting to be seen.

Sara, a qualified social worker, and team manager at Taranaki Family Works, also shares her perspective and emphasises the urgency in attending to children.

“We have children who are living with family violence that are in that hypervigilant mode and who are always anxious, and it is really difficult to break those cycles,” she says. “They need trained therapists – it’s about helping them understand that family violence isn’t their fault.”

The elevated demand for children and youth influenced some Family Works sites to see clients in groups which help to reduce the weight. However, despite these efforts, there is still concern that numbers will grow, and demand will continue to increase.

A glimmer of hope: a Taranaki counsellor’s perspective

“My first client of the morning is a 10-year-old girl, Leah, who has been uplifted by her mother because of abuse and neglect. Leah’s father brings her in, hoping that I can help. I listen to her unpack her story throughout each session, and the more I hear, the more horrified I would feel. She is such a sweet child, and if anyone saw her walking down the street, you would have no idea what she has been through; her smiling face hides a lot. Together we did the child’s version of Te Ara Whanau. Some of her goals were to eat greens and have a shower more regularly, it was heart-breaking.”

“After our session, I head straight to my manager for a debrief because this case was a hard one, and I feel it – I really do.”

Ways you can help.

Throughout New Zealand, children are having to wait for counselling services for distressing instances such as family violence, sexual abuse, and dysfunctional family dynamics. By supporting Family Works, you are supporting a passionate team of professionals who work endlessly towards meeting the high demands for children in our communities. You can be supporting our youngest people to receive quality care from experiencing cases which can lead to suicide, crime, family violence, and a deflated sense of self-worth. Children deserve better; they are our future.

As we are not fully funded by the government, we depend on funding from the public to help with continuous professional support for children and youth. With your backing, you are helping to save an innocent child’s life from painful circumstances that were outside their control. You can help by donating to .

You may also leave gift in your Will by leaving a bequest

All donations, no matter how big or small are always greatly appreciated.

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