Counselling Support for Students in Need - New Conservative NZ

Counselling Support for Students in Need

1 April 2022

New Conservative supports the New Zealand Independent Practitioners Collective (NZIPC) initiative to source affordable counselling services for students in need.

New Conservative was recently shocked to discover that the $25m Te Pukenga Mental Health fund (signed off by the Ministry of Health and 16 Polytechnics in April 2021), has only delivered 304 counselling sessions in 18 months, at a per-session cost average of $13,000.

Stephen Taylor, New Conservative Spokesman for Mental Health, and counsellor in private practice, says that this outcome is appalling, and yet another example of the folly of divorcing funding from practice.

“Polytechnics and third-party agencies do not deliver counselling services, counsellors do.

“It makes sense then to tag funding directly to the counsellor providing the service, not to a third-party agency within which a counsellor works for, is represented by, or is contracted to,” says Mr Taylor.

“In the current counselling service provision model, there are just too many intermediaries unnecessarily clipping the funding ticket, which means that less funding is available for the people who really need help, the clients. There are also very narrow arbitrary and unnecessary service delivery gateways which further restrict clients from getting assistance, resulting in people not accessing services, or having to go on waiting lists, when there is actually more than sufficient service capacity available to these same clients, right now,” says Mr Taylor.

To address this problem, New Conservative supports the work of the New Zealand Independent Practitioners Collective (NZIPC) who are currently working to source spare counselling capacity from New Zealand-based private counselling practitioners, and who then invite various funding organisations to attach funding directly to the specific counselling service providers capacity.

“NZIPC Practitioners are qualified, independent, and outcome-focused service providers, who can offer immediate service capacity relief at a fraction of the cost of other funded programmes. NZIPC Practitioners make themselves directly accountable to the Office of the Health and Disability Commissioner, negating the NZPIC having to set up yet another level of expensive and unnecessary administrative bureaucracy. There is no intermediary ticket-clipping, because there are no intermediaries, just the funder, the counsellor, and the client,” says Mr Taylor.

“It is long overdue for the New Zealand Mental Health sector to side with the “what works” evidence, rather than rinsing and repeating mad funding for bad policy. Supporting initiatives like the NZIPC is a positive step in this direction,” says Mr Taylor.