Mental health and wellbeing of youth in our communities
Being a teenager can sometimes feel like a roller coaster. Sometimes life’s ups and downs are more than just the usual ups and downs.
Depression, anxiety or suicidal thoughts may be caused by a combination of factors, including:
- Stressful events like the break-up of parents, or loss of a loved one;
- A family history of depression;
- Relationship break-ups or problems with friends;
- Learning difficulties; or
- Social isolation such as having no friends or whānau that you feel connected to.
It’s important to know the difference between mental health issues and life’s flat spots – and get support or treatment early.
Checking on our mental wellbeing is helpful during times of changes or challenges. Having good mental health allows us to:
- Develop a sense of who we are inlcuding our identities, values and beliefs;
- Cope with strong emotions;
- Work out how to get on with the people around us;
- Get by at school, work and home;
- Have respect for ourselves and others;
- Express what we’re thinking and how we’re feeling; and
- Accept responsibility for our own thoughts and actions.
What you can do if you are stuck feeling bad
There are heaps of ways you can start tackling feeling bad, overwhelmed or just plain sad. A lot of them are pretty easy too, like getting some fresh air and sleeping better.
- Find out more about the Five Ways to Wellbeing (Mental Health Foundation).
- Explore ways to help yourself (The LowDown).
It’s OK to ask for help – especially before your stress or anxiety escalates into something more serious.
Talk to someone you trust like a family member, your doctor or school counsellor.
You can also ask questions or chat anonymously about your feelings with one of many support services just for young people.
- Positive Youth Development in Aotearoa (Wayne Francis Charitable Trust 2020).
- Life in lockdown: Children and young people’s views on the nationwide COVID-19 level 3 and 4 lockdown between March and May 2020 (Office of the Children’s Commissioner 2020).
For additional information, contact:
Psychiatric Emergency Line
0800 920 092
Suicide Crisis Helpline
0508 828 865
0800 111 757
0800 37 66 33
Free text to 234
What’s Up for 5 to 18 year olds
0800 942 8787 (1pm to 11pm).
0800 543 354
For more information, contact:
Ph +64 3 687 2600
Ph:+64 3 768 1160
Common Ground: An innovative project to help young people
Common Ground aimed to give parents, families, whānau and friends of young people easy access to information to help support young people to:
- manage hard times;
- enjoy positive mental health and wellbeing; and
- get the right kind of help when they need it.
Tools and support is available for whānau from the Common Ground website.
SPARX e-therapy for young people
SPARX is an online game-style tool to help young people develop skills to deal with feeling down, depressed or stressed.
This self-help e-therapy tool teaches young people key skills needed to help combat depression and anxiety.
The SPARX website also offers a mood quiz to help young people identify depression and gives information on where to get help.
Phone support from professional counsellors is available to SPARX users on 0508 4 SPARX.