New Zealands' Youth Mental Health Crisis

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 ‘She’ll be right’…’No worries bro’’ “Sweet as…’

 New Zealand prides itself on a relaxed, can-do attitude. However, is this serving us well when it comes to social problems? The fact that New Zealand is reported as having the highest youth suicide rate in the developed world, [1] suggests that something is NOT OK.

 Action is needed, and it is needed now.

 There is a gap in mental health support for intermediate aged children. The wait list for children needing professional help from district health board community mental health teams is too long, with examples of suicidal children being forced to wait months for treatment and follow up appointments, [2] and teachers are therefore losing faith in these services [3]. In some schools, onsite social workers assist, but this programme is limited through lack of funding to only a portion of low-decile primary and intermediate schools [4]. School counselling services are also stretched [5].

 This year, the National government has proposed a $100m social investment fund, with the aim of improving current services and providing earlier intervention [6]. Labour want to increase funding in Christchurch and Kaikoura by $30m to place an extra 80 mental health professionals in primary and intermediate schools in these regions [7]. Both clearly see value in ‘social investment’ through preventative measures.

 However, these promises are not enough. We need to ensure that these issues are being addressed early and nationwide.

 International research proves that children aged between 12-17 respond well to programmes with a focus on positive development and increasing resilience [8]. Dedicated mental health workers in schools (such as counsellors, social workers or youth workers) are needed so that teachers can get on with the job of teaching, and so that children in need are no longer ignored. This will also help reduce suicidality in later years.

 NZ’s current teen suicide rates are nothing to be proud of. We plan to present this petition to MPs Kelvin Davis, Clare Curran, Dr Shane Reti and Nikki Kaye to urge that the Government make this a top priority.

Please sign our petition to increase funding for mental health workers in schools for intermediate aged children.

[1] McConnell, G. (2016, October 16). The highest rate of teen suicide in the developed world. Retrieved from:

[2] Broughton, C., Stewart A. (2016, August 3). Health care: Out of reach-six-month wait for child who talks of dying. Retrieved from:

[3] Arthur-Worsop, S. (2017, July 13). Mental health provisions for schools ‘appalling’. New Zealand Herald. Retrieved from:

[4] Ministry of Social Development. Social Wokers in Schools. Retrived from:

[5]Murphy, E. (2016, May 09). Depression among Kiwi students a 'crisis'. Retrieved 09 11, 2017 from

[6] Adams, A., Coleman, J. (2017, August 14th). $100m social investment mental health package. Retrived from:

[7] Meier, C ( 2017, August 16). Canterbur and Kaikoura children’s mental health a ‘major priority’ for Labour. Retrived from:

[8] Sanders, J., Munford, R., Thimasarn-Anwar, T., Liebenberg, L., & Ungar, M. (2015). The role of positive youth development practices in building resilience and enhancing wellbeing for at-risk youth. Child Abuse & Neglect, 4240-53.

 Special thanks to Rowan Edwards for creating the artwork for the petition.


Today: Elena King, Hannah Lapslie, Kimberley Templeton, Rowan Edwards, Paige McDonald and Dallas Frederikson is counting on you

Elena King, Hannah Lapslie, Kimberley Templeton, Rowan Edwards, Paige McDonald and Dallas Frederikson needs your help with “Local MPs -Kelvin Davis, Clare Curran, Dr Shane Reti and Nikki Kaye: New Zealands Youth Mental Health Crisis”. Join Elena King, Hannah Lapslie, Kimberley Templeton, Rowan Edwards, Paige McDonald and Dallas Frederikson and 606 supporters today.