Bid to bring free mental health services to Selwyn

IN HIGH DEMAND: Happy Minds Counselling is planning to set up a charitable trust to provide free mental health services for youth in Selwyn.

A Selwyn counselling practice is planning to form a charitable trust to help provide free mental health services for youth in the district.

Happy Minds Counselling is in the process of establishing a board of representatives and funding for its new trust which will initially provide services for youth.

The organisation’s owner and counsellor Matt Brown said it hopes to have its youth funding secured by the end of this year.

“We have decided it is really good if we could provide it for nothing, that is the goal,” he said.

Happy Minds Counselling owner Matt Brown.

It is applying to various avenues of funding including government, community and national funding.

The trust is to be known as the Brighter Futures Charitable Trust.

It is planned people seeking the free services would make an application to the trust which would be considered by the board.

But Mr Brown said it hopes to extend its free mental health services to adults within a year of its establishment.

It plans to have its application for funding to support adults secured by March-April.

The organisation currently subsidises its counselling services for youth aged 13-21 to $50 per session while adults are $80 per session.

The general rate for counselling sessions is between $100-$120.

Mr Brown said the reason the cost is high is because of resources, the lack of employment roles available and the high costs of becoming a counsellor.

He said it is aiming for the board’s trustees to represent a wide range of people to help provide services for different sectors in the community.

Mr Brown said anyone could get involved – the trust eventually hopes to provide a range of services including supporting farmers, elderly, families and the religious community.

“As long as you have a trust board and trustees that are representatives of your whole community then you can provide services for the whole community,” he said.

On top of running Happy Minds, Mr Brown counsels at Rolleston College.

Mr Brown said children will often go from having counselling services wrapped around them at school into the community where there is a deficiency.

The counselling services he runs outside of Rolleston College book up fast and are attended by 70 per cent youth and 30 per cent adults.

Mr Brown said it is often the people who cannot afford counselling services who slip through the cracks.

While the new trust will initially cater for Selwyn it will look to expand in the future.

Mr Brown said there has always been a huge cry for mental health services in Selwyn and it was the reason he set up Happy Minds.

If interested in becoming involved with the trust email info@happyminds.net.nz

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