Queenstown may lose child mental health unit

23:10, Feb 17 2013

Queenstown is at risk of losing its only specialist service for children suffering from mental health and behavioural issues unless $97,000 can be found to cover operating costs until the end of the financial year.

The Queenstown Lakes Family Centre is the only service in the Wakatipu providing specialist services for children, adolescents and their families with mild to moderate mental health, behavioural and emotional issues.

The centre, which employs two fulltime and seven part-time staff, has provided clinical services to about 280 families a year since it opened seven years ago.

But with dwindling funds and only enough money to cover wages until April, general manager Ilona Weekley said those who use the centre's services could be faced with a two-hour drive to Invercargill unless $97,000 can be found between now and July.

The centre itself is not costly to run, the funds needed would be used mainly to pay wages.

Despite being the only service provider of its type in the Wakatipu, only 25 per cent of the centre's operating budget is government funded.

The centre had been affected by lower community fund returns and fewer funding applications had been granted than expected, she said.


The Southland Times