Mental health and wellbeing of youth in our communities

Three young people sitting on a couch in a garage. Source: Health Promotion Agency website.Being a teenager can sometimes feel like a roller coaster. It’s important to know the difference between mental health issues and life’s flat spots – and when to 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 including 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.

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.

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.

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.

New campaign encourages young people to do nothing, together

Health Promotion Agency media release: 20th April 2022

Got a friend who’s feeling down? Do nothing with them. Because just being there really helps.

How To Do Nothing is a new campaign that aims is to remind young people that they can help a friend or family member in need by just being there and doing nothing together.

Young people report that they want to help their friends through mental health struggles, but sometimes don’t know what to do or say. This campaign helps young people recognise that when someone is going through a tough time, they don’t have to know the right thing to say, or to be a trained mental health professional to help. Just being there can really help.



Download or order resources from the Community Health Information Centre.


For additional information, contact:

Psychiatric Emergency Line
0800 920 092

Suicide Crisis Helpline
0508 828 865

Depression Helpline
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 LifeLine
0800 543 354

For more information, contact:

Anna Reihana
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.

Visit the Common Ground website for more information.



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.

Page last updated: 29/04/2022

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