Cyclone Gabrielle has not had a notable impact on the number of youths being referred to Te Whatu Ora Hawke’s Bay Child and Family Services (CAFS).

From January to August 2023, 632 individuals had been referred to CAFS.

Last year for the period of January to December 2022, 888 individuals had been referred to CAFS.

In an Official Information Act (OIA) response to BayBuzz mental health and addictions general manager David Warrington said referral reasons post Cyclone Gabrielle were not any different to the reasons youth were usually referred before the disaster.

“Most referral reasons include youth presenting with suicidal ideation, without intent or plan, or seeking assessment for Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder (ADHD) or Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD),” he said.

Most CAFS referrals are for youth between 12 and 17 years of age. In the six months pre and post Cyclone Gabrielle, the most prevalent age group for referrals was 16 years.

Warrington said Te Whatu Ora Hawke’s Bay offered a variety of treatment options as intervention, with a focus on providing young people and their whānau skills for life while working on building resilience and giving tools to manage their mental health.

Additionally, he said, there were different support groups available to youth and their whānau including:

  • COPE (Creating Opportunities for Personal Excellence) – two-part skills groups.
  • Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT) based strategies and techniques – 13 years upwards.
  • Surfing the Waves – a four-week group treatment using Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) to manage anxiety and depression – 13 years upwards.
  • Worry Busters – co-facilitated with Birthright Hawke’s Bay for seven to 12 years using a Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT) approach.
  • DBT intensive group work with families.
  • Circle of Security – run by two clinical psychologists targeting attachment between child and parent/caregiver.
  • PCIT – Parent-child interaction therapy for four to seven years targeting attachment/parent/caregiver relationships.

“Te Whatu Ora Hawke’s Bay clinicians offer alcohol and drug education and intervention, ADHD clinics, medication reviews, follow-up reviews and monitoring of those diagnosed with ADHD,” Warrington said.

“Acute and early psychosis clinicians manage acute presentations and follow-up for suicide attempts.”

Public Interest Journalism funded by NZ on Air


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