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  • Writer's pictureWerner Briedenhann

Puzzling out funding options for therapy.

Therapy couch funding puzzle.

Therapy, like most other health services, is either provided in the context of government-funded/community mental health or private practice. If private funding is not an option, there may be other ways of funding therapy. Here are some ways to help fund therapy:

General Practitioner (GP): Your family doctor or GP can be the first point of contact for mental health support. They can provide initial assessments and referrals to specialists or therapists. Some services may be funded by the government, while others may require additional payment. Your GP usually works with a Primary Health Organisation that may fund four to six sessions.

Primary Health Organizations (PHOs): PHOs in New Zealand are groups of healthcare providers that offer a range of health services, including mental health support. They may have programs or funding arrangements to provide subsidised therapy or counselling sessions. Read more about PHOs in the Southern region, including Dunedin, here.

Public Health Services: The New Zealand public health system provides mental health services through Te Whatu Ora, formerly known as the Southern DHB (Adult Community Mental Health Services) in Dunedin. You can access services like counselling or psychiatric and mental health support through your local adult community mental health services. The availability and waiting times for these services may vary by region. For more about adult community mental health services in Dunedin, read here.

ACC (Accident Compensation Corporation): ACC may provide financial support for therapy or counselling if your mental health condition is related to sexual trauma, a physical injury or an accident. You will need to go through a claims process to access this funding. Read more here.

Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs): Many employers in New Zealand offer EAPs as part of their employee benefits package. EAPs provide confidential counselling and support services to employees and their families. Usually, EAP-funded sessions consist of three appointments with a mental health professional. Check with your employer to see if this option is available to you.

Student Support Services: If you are a student, educational institutions in New Zealand often have counselling and support services available to students. These services may be free or low-cost for enrolled students. For more info about the University of Otago's student services in Dunedin, read here.

Disability Allowance, Work and Income New Zealand (WINZ): WINZ may partly fund therapy sessions. Speak to your GP about the possibility of accessing WINZ-related funding. Read more about WINZ funding here.

Health Insurance: Some private health insurance plans in New Zealand cover mental health services, including therapy or counselling. Check your policy to see if it includes coverage for these services.

Nonprofit Organisations and Charitable Organisations: Several nonprofit organisations and charities in New Zealand offer free or low-cost counselling and therapy services. Examples include Lifeline New Zealand. Or there is Gumboot Friday which provides limited funded sessions for persons under twenty-five years old.


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