COVID-19 Mental Health and Addiction update - 2 September 2021

on 3 September

This update covers:

  • New youth mental wellbeing grants
  • Operating at Alert Levels 3 and 4
  • Information on new and existing tenders
  • Where to get advice about vaccines
  • Consultation open
  • Upcoming work


E aku manukura, tēnā koutou, ngā manaakitanga pai ki a koutou i tenei wa,

Over the past weeks as the health system has responded to COVID-19 in the community, I have had an opportunity to talk directly with several leaders across our mental health and addiction system. What I have heard are numerous stories of how organisations and services have adapted to ensure our system is able to continue to provide support to people. At the centre of this support has been our incredible workforce: our clinicians, our support workers, our DHBs and our NGOs. I know that everyone has stepped up once again to the challenge of providing services in Alert Levels 3 and 4, and for this I sincerely thank you. The professionalism, resilience, camaraderie, and hard work you are demonstrating is acknowledged and appreciated.

These are tough times. If you are struggling, I encourage you to access your organisation’s employee assistance programme if available or call or text 1737. Please also remember there are a range of self-help tools and resources listed on the Ministry’s website.

My team and I are using the information sent through our psychosocial inbox to inform our response and identify areas of need, so please keep sending us your insights about the impacts you are seeing in your community and the health sector. The inbox address is

Once again, thank you.

Kia kapi ake au i konei, noho ora mai

Philip Grady
Acting Deputy Director-General
Mental Health and Addiction


New youth mental wellbeing grants

Grants are now available for grassroots initiatives supporting the mental wellbeing of young New Zealanders through COVID-19, announced on Sunday.

Grants of up to $100,000 may be awarded, depending on the initiative. Initiatives that include a focus on young people in Auckland and Northland will be prioritised. Applications are open from 30 August and will close on 6 September at 10am. Applications can be submitted via email to

You can find out more information, including how to apply, on the Ministry website, and email your questions to


Operating at Alert Levels 3 and 4

Our current advice about operating at Alert Levels 3 and 4 is available on the Ministry website. We have provided clarification for community-based services operating at both Alert Levels below:

  • Crisis respite services must remain open and accept referrals with appropriate IPC measures
  • Non-crisis (planned) respite and supported accommodation providers should be maintaining existing bubbles as per guidelines
  • Admissions can be considered only after consideration and negotiation with the ability to meet C19 IPC requirements
  • MoH encourage DHBs and NGOs to negotiate best approach given context and circumstances for residence, provider and whaiora needs. 


Information on new and existing tenders

We have received some feedback on the additional workload placed on providers in responding to the Delta outbreak and the impact that this has on their ability to respond to tenders at this time. We have therefore extended the timeframes for responses on all current live tenders, and will delay issuing any new tenders (RFPs, ROIs etc) until the entire country is out of Alert Level 4. We are developing a Ministry wide position and will confirm this as soon as we are able.

Notwithstanding the above, funding intended to address the psychosocial impact of COVID, such as the community grants for youth mental wellbeing initiatives (see above), will continue.


Where to get advice on vaccines

From 1 September, everyone in New Zealand aged 12 years and over is eligible to get the Covid-19 vaccine.

The Ministry website is the best place to get any vaccination related information, and we really encourage you to share the information widely and encourage people in your networks and whānau to book their vaccinations today.

Don’t forget that assistance is available for anyone who needs it when receiving their vaccine. Assistance can be requested at the time of booking, and could include:

  • an NZSL interpreter
  • support to make decisions
  • assistance to move around
  • a longer appointment time
  • a quiet or low-sensory environment
  • more space to move around.

If you have questions about accessibility or have specific or complex needs, please call the COVID Vaccination Healthline on 0800 28 29 26.

Our vaccination programme is delivering at scale and we are on track to enable everyone in Aotearoa New Zealand to be vaccinated with two doses of the Pfizer vaccine by the end of this year.


Consultation now open on the draft strategy to prevent and minimise gambling harm

Harm from gambling is a significant public health issue for our communities, and for individuals, families and whānau. Every three years the Ministry of Health sets out a proposed strategy to prevent and minimise the harm caused to people, whānau, and communities by gambling.

The consultation is now open and submissions close at 5pm on Friday 8 October. You can find out more information and read the consultation documents on the Ministry’s website, and make a submission through the Health Consultation Hub.

Feedback from this consultation will help to develop the strategy proposals submitted to the Gambling Commission. The Gambling Commission will undertake its own consultation and make recommendations to Government. The new strategy and levy will take effect from 1 July 2022.


Upcoming work

Our need to respond to the COVID situation has meant we have had to redirect our efforts and put some plans temporarily on hold. This includes publicly releasing the Long-Term Pathway for mental wellbeing; however, we are working on plans to share this milestone document with you soon. Meanwhile, we are continuing our preparation for engagement on a draft system and service framework commencing around November or December.


Ministry of Health - Manatū Hauora

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