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Youth health services

A community hub based in the former Adairs building, on the corner of Gladstone Road and Grey Street, and another in Ruatoria will form part of a new youth health services model for high-needs rangatahi.

Hauora Tairawhiti's community and public health advisory committee has received an information paper on the model and approved it for “available resourcing”.

The paper, written by senior portfolio manager, child, youth and population Nicolette Pomana said the aim was to improve health outcomes for rangatahi —primarily aged between 10 and 19 — who have high needs or are either not high users or don't access health services.

Tairawhiti had a slightly higher proportion of the population in the 10 to 19 age group (15.2 percent) compared to the national average of 12.8 percent.

“Improving equity and access to services for young people within Tairawhiti remains a priority,” the paper said.

“Tairawhiti recognises the population of children and young people is large.

“We know from feedback received as far back as 2008 that rangatahi have talked about having their own space,” said Ms Pomana in the paper.

Youth health services had done little to remove barriers.

There were little or no youth health services in some areas — the lack of dental services in Coast communities was an example.

The paper said hui with rangatahi showed the need for a space that was accessible and youth-led.

Two coastal communities had highlighted their concern about issues such as suicide and self-harming.

A hui in Ruatoria discussed the impact of drugs, alcohol, gangs, violence and other socio-economic issues such as high deprivation and insufficient housing, and the need for services specific to youth needs on the Coast.

Projected funds for the rangatahi-specific services will come from the cancelled GP in schools service (described as being a costly service model, which operated in few schools) involving total funding of $435,200 from the 2019-2020 year to 2022-2023.

The paper said a Gisborne trust had leased space within the former Adairs building, which was used for art, music, dance and was accessible to “rainbow youth”.

“This site has space for potential health room(s) for young people.”

There was no such space on the Coast which was rangatahi-specific other than Ruatoria schools and those working in sports and the arts.

“We would look to develop a collective working group, with supported co-ordination with a long-term view to an established rangatahi space.”

The hubs are described as one of four potential opportunities.

The second “opportunity” is in “supporting rangatahi community development models”.

There were organisations who supported rangatahi health needs and had the necessary people but lacked the resources.

There were opportunities to help through a grants programme, which would be modelled on the successful Maori Community Grants for Rheumatic Fever to Achieve Equity, said the paper.

The other opportunity was described as a “youth-centric capacity and capability to support community development”, but this would require the completion of heath service reviews.

Priorities for rangatahi services were named as sexual and reproductive health; adolescent oral-dental health; mental health and social wellbeing; access to primary care services.