About Access and Choice

Every month, tens of thousands of New Zealanders experience the benefits of managing their mental and physical wellbeing through the Access and Choice programme.

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Access and Choice is free and accessible.

The programme rollout started in February 2020. By the end of June 2023 more than 998,000 sessions had been delivered across the four workstreams. Services have provided people with support and guidance through challenging times in their lives.

These are services that didn’t exist in some communities before the 2019 Wellbeing Budget.

Why Access and Choice was developed

Developed in response to He Ara Oranga report

The Access and Choice programme was developed in response to He Ara Oranga: Report of the Government Inquiry into Mental Health and Addiction.

The report found there was an urgent need to provide better access to, and more choice of, services. Including for people with mild to moderate, and moderate to severe, mental health and addiction needs.

What’s different about Access and Choice?

Builds on existing mental health and addiction expertise

Access and Choice builds on mental health and addiction expertise in general practice teams. It also improves collaboration between general practices, non-government organisations, and other mental health and addiction services.

No referral criteria

Access and Choice addresses the historic gap in the mental health and addiction system. It provides supports for the ‘missing middle’. He Ara Oranga defines this as people with mild to moderate mental health and addiction needs. They don't meet the threshold to access specialist interventions that are publicly funded.

Services are free to anyone whose thoughts, feelings or behaviours are affecting their health and wellbeing.

Easy-to-access early intervention

Identifying and treating mild and moderate issues early can save people from distress over time. People are usually seen quickly.

Early intervention takes the pressure off acute mental health and addiction services in the future.

Flexible services

Support is available in many different settings and is flexible to meet people’s needs. As well as general practice support there are kaupapa Māori services, Pacific-led services, and services for young people.

The programme reflects local community needs but provides consistent support across the country.

Programme performance

New data published each month

The number of services, sessions and people seen are captured in monthly reporting.

Includes reporting to 31 December 2023.

We aim to publish new data about the Access and Choice programme by 30th of each month. Each report includes data for the period three months before. The lag allows for provider reporting and Te Whatu Ora review.

The reporting process for these services is still under development and Te Whatu Ora is actively engaged in reviewing and improving the reporting process and data quality. As a consequence the data can change over time as late submissions are incorporated and corrections are made.

How this data is collected

Information collection factsheet

How Access and Choice is funded

$455 million investment

An investment of $455 million is being made in the Access and Choice programme over four years.

Expanding services allows people with mild to moderate needs to get free and easy to access mental wellbeing advice and support, when and where they need it.

The rollout will be complete by the end of June 2024.

The Access and Choice programme investment is part of a $1.9 billion investment in a cross-government mental wellbeing package from the Wellbeing Budget 2019.

Funding for Rainbow youth wellbeing

Expanding services

An investment of $4 million is being made in initiatives for takatāpui rangatahi/Rainbow young people over four years.

This includes funding for InsideOUT and RainbowYOUTH  to expand their mental health and wellbeing services.

Designing services

In 2019 the Ministry of Health engaged with communities on mental health and addiction. Feedback informed the core service specifications for expanded primary mental health and addiction services.

Kaupapa Māori primary mental health and addiction services

The Ministry of Health hosted a series of hui with Māori. They began to design culturally responsive primary mental health and addiction support that works for whānau and the wider community.

Feedback received at the hui was analysed by an external Māori lens, Awa and Associates. They produced a report: Ngai Māori Insights For A Kaupapa Māori Primary (Community) Mental Health And Addictions Service Model: The analysis

Pacific primary mental health and addiction services

The Ministry of Health hosted a series of Pacific fono/focus groups. Collaboration began on co-designing primary mental health and addiction support that works for Pacific people and their communities.

A report focused on the core elements of Pacific primary mental health and addiction services. It was produced from an external Pasifika lens by Niu Mindworks Ltd. Core elements of Pacific primary mental health and addiction service provision (PDF, 957 KB)

Primary and community mental health and addiction services

Regional workshops were held with the mental health and addiction sector, and people with lived experience. They outlined their vision for expanding primary mental health and addiction support.

Following this, a dedicated National Lived Experience Hui was held. It brought together people from around the country to begin a closer working relationship with the Ministry of Health.

Evaluation

Download reports

Access and Choice Programme Evaluation

The first three years of the Access and Choice programme were externally evaluated by Te Hiringa Mahara – the New Zealand Mental Health and Wellbeing Commission. A report was published in 2022.

Access and Choice Programme Evaluation - 2022 - PDF, 1821 KB

Integrated Primary Mental Health and Addiction

Access and Choice, Integrated Primary Mental Health and Addiction (IPMHA) Programme Evaluation

The implementation of the Access and Choice, Integrated Primary Mental Health and Addiction (IPMHA) programme was externally evaluated by Malatest International. A report was published in March 2022.

Access and Choice, Integrated Primary Mental Health and Addiction (IPMHA) Programme Evaluation - March 2022 - PDF, 1649 KB

Kaupapa Māori

Access and Choice Kaupapa Māori Wellbeing Services Evaluation – Te Waka Waiora

The Access and Choice Kaupapa Māori wellbeing service was externally evaluated by Awa Associates. An interim report was published in 2023.

Access and Choice Kaupapa Māori – Te Waka Waiora – 2023 – PDF 4445 KB

Pacific

Access and Choice Pacific Wellbeing Services Evaluation

The Access and Choice Pacific wellbeing service was externally evaluated by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC). A report was published in June 2022.

Access and Choice Pacific Wellbeing Services Evaluation - June 2022 - PDF, 1,795 KB

Pasifika Access and Choice – Impact Evaluation Report (December 2023)

The Access and Choice Pacific wellbeing service was externally evaluated by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC).  A report was published in March 2024.

Pasifika Access and Choice – Impact Evaluation Report - December 2023 - PDF, 1,396 KB

Youth

Youth Access and Choice Wellbeing Services External Evaluation Report 2023

The Access and Choice youth wellbeing service was externally evaluated by Dovetail Consulting Ltd. This report, published in June 2023, details the findings of this evaluation, applying a Value for Investment (VfI) approach.

Youth Access and Choice evaluation report 2023 - PDF, 5173 KB

Youth Access and Choice – Value for Investment Exemplar Report 2023

This document shares an approach to evaluation and value for money, called Value for Investment (VfI). It describes key principles of the VfI system and provides guidance on how to use it to design and implement evaluations, using the evaluation of the Youth Primary Mental Health and Addictions (Youth PMHA) initiative as an illustrative example.

Youth Access and Choice VfI exemplar report 2023 - PDF, 3410 KB

Access and Choice Youth Wellbeing Services Evaluation 2022

The Access and Choice youth wellbeing service was externally evaluated by Te Hiringa Mahara – the New Zealand Mental Health and Wellbeing Commission. A report was published in 2022.

Access and Choice Youth Wellbeing Services Evaluation - 2022 - PDF, 431 KB

Piki Pilot Evaluation 

Piki provides support to young people aged 18 to 25 years who are experiencing mild to moderate mental health and addiction needs in the Greater Wellington Region. The Piki pilot project was externally evaluated by the University of Otago. A report was published in July 2022.

Piki Pilot Evaluation - July 2022 - PDF, 5,805 KB