In a Mental Health and Wellbeing report by the Mental Health Foundation, depression statistics show that an increasing number of New Zealanders, teens included, are having to deal with unpleasant feelings or emotions (psychological distress) in their day to day lives. This is impacting their daily lives and how well they are able to function. The report tells us several interesting facts that we should be paying attention to:

  • In 2012, 5% of our youth were affected by depression and anxiety. Over the next 5 years we saw that number more than double to 11.8%.
  • It was estimated that in 2017 alone, the number of New Zealand youth experiencing psychological distress increased from 58,000 to 79,000.
  • In a shocking depression statistic, one in ten young Kiwis actively seeking mental health support is left waiting more than two months to be seen by a professional.
  • New Zealand has the highest youth suicide rates between the ages of 15-19 in the OECD.

These depression statistics show that we have a growing issue that New Zealand needs to address today. We as a community can do more to support the people around us, whether we know what they are going through or not. For some people suffering from depression, they may wear a mask, making us completely oblivious to what is happening inside. This mask can be worn by any person from any walk of life, from your next door neighbour to your favourite TV personality.

The government knows that things need to change which is why in recent years they have been working with various schools and higher education institutions, in order to provide support to young people suffering from emotional distress. For example, in 2014, John Key worked with the University of Auckland to launch SPARX online therapy. This is an online tool designed to help teens who are feeling down or depressed, in a fun and interactive way. This tool is a great example of an alternative way to think about how we can help young people struggling with their mental health.

We Kiwis, as a community, need to remain aware of this and treat all people around us, especially our youth, with equal respect and kindness which can be shown in many ways. It can start with a smile as you walk by a stranger and can grow to be random act of kindness to someone who may be struggling, or simply a genuine conversation with a fellow commuter on the bus. Giving kindness is free and may be just what someone needs to make their day.

If you or anyone around you are experiencing any form of emotional distress, tell someone that you trust or make a confidential call to any of the help lines listed on our website.

Emergency and help lines


Anxiety phone line – 0800 269 4389 (0800 ANXIETY)

Mental Health Crisis Helpline

Mental Health Crisis Helpline - 0800 800 717


Depression and anxiety affects us all differently.
Free 24/7 Helpline: 0800 111 757 Text 4202

Website Address

Lifeline – 0800 543 354 or (09) 5222 999 within Auckland


Youthline – 0800 376 633, free text 234 or email or online chat


Whatever you're going through, call us any time on 0800 726 666.

Website Address
Suicide Crisis Helpline

Suicide Crisis Helpline – 0508 828 865 (0508 TAUTOKO)
What's Up – 0800 942 8787 (for 5–18 year olds).
Phone counselling is available Monday to Friday, midday–11pm and weekends, 3pm–11pm. Online chat is available 7pm–10pm daily.


Kidsline – 0800 54 37 54 (0800 kidsline) for young people up to 18 years of age. Open 24/7.

Sexuality or gender identity helpline
Description – Phone: 0800 111 757 or email or free text 5626

Website Address
Supporting Families in Mental Illness

Supporting Families in Mental Illness - 0800 732 825.

Mental health services – Ministry of Health

We all face challenges to our mental health at various times in our lives. The way we’re feeling can change how we think and how we deal with tough times.

There’s a range of resources and services available to help including phone and online services and information, as well as face-to-face support.

Most services are free and provide information and confidential advice from trained professionals. There's also information for family, whānau, or friends if they need advice and support.

If you’re told that there is a waiting time for a service, please still reach out and make contact. Other supports can be put in place – ask what you can try in the meantime.


Helplines for children and young people

Need to talk? Free call or text 1737 any time to talk to a trained counsellor.

To talk to a trained counsellor 24/7 call the Depression helpline – 0800 111 757.

To get help from a registered nurse 24/7 call Healthline – 0800 611 116.

Youthline – 0800 376 633, free text 234 or email or online chat.

What's Up  – 0800 942 8787, (for 5–18-year-olds). Phone counselling is available Monday to Friday, 1 pm–10 pm and on weekends, 3 pm–10 pm. Online chat is available from 7 pm–10 pm daily.

Website Address