Skip to main content

For the full experience please download a modern browser. Click here to find a modern browser or discuss with your IT department.

NGO support workforce

A large and significant workforce

In 2018, support workers (including peer and whānau support workers) were the largest group in secondary mental health and addiction services at 32 percent of the workforce. Most support workers (93 percent) were employed in mental health and addiction services for adults (people aged 18 and older). Around three-quarters (74 percent) of all support workers were employed by NGOs (Te Pou o te Whakaaro Nui, 2018).

There is also some evidence that the support workforce in DHB adult mental health and addiction services is growing at a faster rate than clinical roles (Te Pou o te Whakaaro Nui, 2019). The size and availability of the community support workforce means it plays a crucial role in implementing the changes recommended by He Ara Oranga: Report of the Government Inquiry into Mental Health and Addiction.

Te Pou continues to collect and report information about the support workforce and its place in adult mental health and addiction services. The annual DHB employees profile report series provides useful demographic and service information. In 2022, Te Pou will be updating its More than numbers NGO workforce information.

Current picture

The nature of the support workforce continues to develop and diversify, with support workers working in an increasing range of settings. As a result, the needs for this workforce continue to evolve. It is important for support workers to feel their work is supported, understood, and valued as an integral part of the mental health and addiction continuum.

Te Pou has some initiatives planned for 2022/23 that aim to support and develop the support workforce. These include:

  • exploring the supervision needs of support workers and developing resources that will support these
  • supporting the development of educational and learning pathways for support workers
  • facilitating the creation of a shared description or scope of practice for support work
  • creating opportunities for support workers to network with others across the country
  • promoting the value of support work

Regular updates will be made available on this page.

If you are interested in supporting any of these initiatives or if you have any questions, please contact Alexia Black.

Join our distribution list

Complete the sign-up form and stay in touch with news, events and information relevant to the NGO support workforce.


* indicates required




Related Initiatives