Help for the tough times - right there for you

Feeling stressed, anxious, down? You’re allowed to. Lots of guys and girls your age feel the same. They get tough times too.

And there are as many reasons why you might be feeling this way as there are folk feeling it. It can be hard balancing all the things that have an impact on us, whether they are social, school, family, what we look like, what we’re going to do for a career…….we all feel them.

At school there’s another layer – exams and assessment pressure. A survey a couple of years back found that 2/3 of the 5761 students said that ‘stress/anxiety about assessments’ was a major challenge in their schooling.

The best way to get through these down times is to get help, from a mate, a professional, from someone you trust. You generally won’t pull out of these by yourself unless you know the path through. There is help available, and often we just need to know where to start looking for this.

Guide to top sites to help 

Help for the Tough Times provides a quick guide to four New Zealand websites that were especially designed to support teens when they are feeling stressed, anxious, depressed or out of their depth.

The four websites were developed by experts in youth mental health and co-developed for teens by teens (by two Year 12 high school classes). Support material is also available for your teachers so that they too are aware of the websites and can guide you to them.

Here’s the sites – check them out

The Lowdown -

  • Information on how to recognise, understand and cope with symptoms of depression and anxiety, plus options on dealing with identity issues, relationships, school life and supporting friends in need.
  • Videos, webpage text, an online discussion forum and self-help tests.
  • Counsellors available 24/7 to respond to texts and emails and monitor forum posts.
  • Strong on addressing issues relating to Māori, Pacific and LGBTI.
  • com/TheLowdownNZ

Youthline – 

  • Comprehensive information and self-assessment tools to encourage your personal development and to support you in times of need.
  • Information on a wide range of issues and a wide range of services, including online and phone counselling, quizzes, chat forums and training options.
  • Free phone: 0800 376 633; Free text: 234

Common Ground -

  • Self-help information and advice for young people plus information, tools and tips to help parents, caregivers, whānau and friends support someone in trouble.
  • Discussions about common issues, including family dynamics, relationships, identity, self-destructive habits, coping with emotions.
  • Video examples of situations that you and your support network might experience
  • Easy access to advice lines – via email or live chats

SPARX - Sparx website

  • A progressive 7-level/module fantasy computer game (approx. 30 mins/level) designed to help you deal with the symptoms of mild to moderate depression and anxiety
  • Information on where and how to access extra help
  • Information for families, whānau, health professionals and counsellors
  • Training for health professionals and counsellors
  •; Free phone: 0508 4 SPARX 

Text helpline taking off too

Another easy to reach help pathway is the text-friendly helpline 1737, introduced last year by the National Telehealth Service. It’s proving popula as it’s so easy to start – just text 1737.

The Help for the Tough Times pocket guide is a really good aid for you or a mate to start with when the bad head space and tough times roll in. Look for it. Ask for it. It will help.


SchoolLeaver - Keeping it together is the name of the game

By Lisa, SchoolLeaver edit team