Zoe Palmer is holding a public meeting about changes to youth mental health services. Photo: Charles Anderson.

Youth mental health still on radar for Nelson


The driving force behind a campaign to reverse changes to youth mental health services is doubling down on her mission.

Zoe Palmer, 17, gathered more than 1700 signatures over Nelson Marlborough Health’s proposed changes to the on-call Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service crisis team.

Under the review, the after-hours CAMHS team, which provides specialist help to young people at risk, would be replaced by a more general team.

Zoe says she wants to create a forum where the people of Nelson can let their voices be heard. To that end, she is holding a public meeting on the CAMHS crisis team at River Kitchen on Friday.

Zoe says it will be an opportunity to hear from service users and health professionals about why it’s an important service model.

“This is a public community hui to talk about what’s going on and have a discussion about it.”

While Nelson Marlborough Health had not been specifically invited, she said representatives were free to attend.

“It’s a public meeting, anyone can come.”

Nelson Marlborough Health is transitioning to the new service with staff being trained and the restructure due to be implemented in August.

The change means that there will be an on-call overnight service for all ages, that is staffed by qualified mental health service staff who will be based in the emergency department.
However, Zoe did not feel like it was too little, too late, to change the policy.

“I think it’s never too late for an organisation to start listening to the community.”

The Government is undertaking a nationwide mental health inquiry which was driven by a widespread concern that mental health and addiction services were at crisis point.

A report is due back to government by October.

Zoe says she hopes to deliver her petition to Parliament in person within the next couple of months.

The meeting is at River Kitchen on Friday June 15 at 5.30pm