Mental Health, Alcohol and/or Other Drugs

The Canterbury and South Canterbury District Health Boards have established a process to deliver community-based supports for people who are most affected by mental illness and alcohol and/or other drug use.

LifeLinks is contracted to provide an outcome planning and coordination service for people who have mental health, alcohol and/or drug conditions and aged between 0-65 years.


To be eligible:

  • a confirmed diagnosis is required from a mental health specialist service, or an alcohol and drug service that have a contract with the Canterbury District Health Board or South Canterbury District Health Board;

  • Be likely to continue for at least 6 months.

  • Limit your ability to function independently, to the extent that ongoing support is required.


We accept referrals for people with psychiatric disability that meets the DSM-IV Axis 1 criteria. (This excludes V – codes). Referrals must come from the Canterbury or South Canterbury District Health Boards specialist mental health services.

A confirmation of diagnosis is required from a psychiatric clinician, a mental health service or an alcohol and drug service.

We do not provide emergency or crisis support. If there are immediate clinical safety and/ or risk issues then referral to an appropriate agency is required e.g. Psychiatric Emergency Services, appropriate Sector Base (Case Manager) and/or Child, Youth and Family Service (CYFS) in the first instance.

Download a Referral Form

Needs Assessment/Outcome Planning

The process of outcome planning involves us visiting you to work together to identify your strengths and abilities; what you would like to be doing; and, any support you need, because of your psychiatric and/or alcohol or drug condition, to achieve your identified goals (but does not guarantee the support will be provided). This is all written down and is called the Outcome Plan. This Outcome Plan belongs to you. On completion it will include a prioritised list of your, and/or your family/whanau member's, goals or desired outcomes.

Service Coordination/Outcome Coordination

The coordination process begins after you have signed the Outcome Plan. This process involves writing a support plan which says what should happen to maintain or enhance a more independent life for you.

We will work with you to access particular services that will assist you in your day-to-day life and that of your family/whanau. It is our job to know about many different Government and Non-Government Organisation services that can help people with a psychiatric and/or alcohol or drug condition. We will then connect you with the services of your choice, and also later, check in with you to see if the services are okay.

If we cannot find a service that best fits your particular circumstances, it means that there is a "gap" in services. Records of these "gaps" are kept and used to help the Canterbury and South Canterbury District Health Boards better plan for the services that people with a mental health and/or alcohol or drug condition require.

Your Rights

Your rights when receiving a Health or Disablility Service:

  1. Respect
    You should always be treated with respect. This includes being listened to and respected for your culture, values, ideas and beliefs, as well as your right to personal privacy.

  2. Fair Treatment
    No one should discriminate against you, pressure you into something you do not want or take advantage of you in any way.

  3. Dignity and Independence
    You should be treated in a way that values you as a person and services should support you to live a dignified, independent life.

  4. Proper Standards
    You have the right to be treated with care and skill, and to receive services that are right for your circumstances. All those involved in supporting you should work together for you.

  5. Communication
    You have the right to be listened to and understood, ask questions, and receive information in whatever way you require. When it is required, and practicable, an interpreter should be available.

  6. Information
    You have the right to know what is happening to you and be told what your choices are. This includes how long you may have to wait, an estimate of any costs, and likely benefits and side effects. You can ask any questions to help you be fully informed.

  7. It’s Your Decision
    It is up to you to decide. You can say no or change your mind at any time.

  8. Support
    You have the right to have someone with you to give you support in most circumstances.

  9. Teaching and Research
    All these rights also apply when taking part in teaching and research.

  10. Complaints
    It is OK to complain and it is your right to have your concerns heard. Your complaints help improve service. It must be easy for you to make a complaint, and it should not have an adverse effect on the way you are treated.

  11. Privacy
    You have a right to know about some important parts of the Privacy Act and the Health Information Privacy Code.
    These parts include:

    • Information is required to be collected in order to ascertain appropriate services.

    • You must know beforehand, and give your written consent, for information to be collected.

    • Your information must be kept securely.

    • It is your right to have access to, and, if necessary, correct any information collected by LifeLinks.

    • LifeLinks must only use the information for the purposes for which our company collected it.

    If you have any concerns about the way in which your personal information has been handled, you can discuss the matter with any or all of the following people:

    LifeLinks’ Privacy Officer
    Toll Free: 0800 866 877
    Christchurch Phone: (03) 365 9593
    Christchurch Facsimile: (03) 365 5244
    The Privacy Commissioner
    Toll Free: 0800 803 909
    Telephone: (04) 474 7590
    Facsimile: (04) 474 7595

A full copy of the Code of Rights is available from the Health and Disability Commission.
The Health and Disability Commissioner can be reached on a National Free Phone/TTY 0800 11 22 33 or by Email; or, Auckland (09) 373 1060; or, Wellington (04) 494 7901


Advocacy is available to you and your family/whanau should you wish to be supported and/or helped to represent your views during the delivery of LifeLinks’ services.

This support, advocacy or advice might be offered by members of your family/whanau and friends or by specially trained people working for one of many specialist support groups and services.

For example, you are welcome to contact one of the following:

  • A Health and Disability Advocate

  • A Consumer Advisor

  • A local support group such as a peer support group

The following table includes a couple of examples of advocacy and support services that you may wish to access should you decide that you would like to be represented or supported during your engagement with LifeLinks. A more comprehensive list of consumer and advocacy groups and their contact details can also be found on the Office of Disability Issues website.

For Maori clients and those from Pacific communities, information about culturally-appropriate advocacy and support services can be accessed by contacting the Health and Disability Advocate - Freephone: 0800 555 050

In addition, LifeLinks’ clients/tangata whaiora are welcome to seek support at any stage during service delivery from our Company’s kaumatua whose contact details are - Freephone: 0800 866 877 or Email:

Health and Disability Commissioner
Toll Free: 0800 11 22 33
Fax: (09) 373 1061
Health and Disability Advocacy
Toll Free: 0800 555 050
Free Fax: 0800 2787 7678
Mental Health Advocacy and Peer Support (MHAPS)
Toll Free: 0800 437 324
Telephone: (03) 365 9479

Keeping in Touch

If your needs change, or the current services are no longer meeting your needs, a review or reassessment can be done. Just contact your Service Co-ordinator to initiate this if required.


It's OK to complain and it is your right to have your concerns heard. Your complaints help improve service. It must be easy for you to make a complaint, and it should not have an adverse effect on the way you are treated.

Providing Feedback

We aim to provide you with excellent service and we really value your feedback.
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