Oranga hinengaro

Mental health

We work with the mental health sector to support New Zealanders to experience positive mental health and wellbeing.

Good mental health and wellbeing are key aspects of a healthy life. However, mental distress is common, with about four in five New Zealand adults (aged 15 years or more) having experience of mental distress either personally or among people they know.

Mental health is not evenly distributed across the population.

  • Māori report higher prevalence of psychological distress and anxiety than non-Maori

  • Pasifika people report higher prevalence of psychological distress than non-Pasifika.

Through our work in this area we aim to reduce the impact of depression and anxiety on the lives of New Zealanders. We want to create a nation that values, includes and supports people with experience of mental distress, so that all New Zealanders can participate in society and in the everyday life of their whānau/family and communities.

What does Te Hiringa Hauora do?

Our work has two programmes of activity:

  1. National Depression Initiative. This focuses on reducing the impacts of depression on adults and young people through early recognition, appropriate treatment and recovery.
  2. Like Minds, Like Mine. This national programme increases social inclusion and reduces stigma and discrimination for people with experience of mental distress. 


Learn more about our mental health work

National Depression Initiative

The National Depression Initiative (NDI) is part of the Government’s ongoing commitment to preventing suicide, along with improving the mental health and wellbeing of all New Zealanders. It works to reduce the impact of depression and anxiety on the lives of New Zealanders by helping early recognition, appropriate treatment, and recovery.

The NDI includes depression.org.nz, which has an online self-help tool fronted by Sir John Kirwan (The Journal), as well as information specifically for LGBTI, deaf, men, rural, Māori and Pacific peoples. The website is translated into New Zealand sign language. There is also a youth-focused website called The Lowdown. These websites provide a range of tools and resources to support New Zealanders who are experiencing mental distress.

The objectives of NDI are to:

  • strengthen individual, family and social factors that protect against depression and anxiety
  • help families, communities and professionals with tools and resources to support people who are experiencing depression and anxiety.

Our work is supported by a marketing approach that can include television and digital advertising, as well as print resources. There is also a telephone service that offers advice and counselling for people seeking help for themselves or others. Homecare Medical provides this telephone service.

We also support health partners and wider sector stakeholders with information and resources, including videos like this one, which was developed alongside Mobile Health to provide an overview of the NDI to GPs.

We undertake a range of research, monitoring and evaluation projects to inform our programmes and the wider sector. View our mental health publications.

Learn more about the latest campaign

Learn more about Homecare Medical's telehealth services

Like Minds, Like Mine – Whakaitia te Whakawhiu i te Tangata

Like Minds, Like Mine is a New Zealand programme to counter stigma and discrimination associated with mental illness and distress. It combines community action, a national marketing campaign, and research and evaluation.

Like Minds, Like Mine is guided by the Like Minds, Like Mine National Plan 2014-2019 . We provide funding to support programme delivery, with strategic responsibility held by the Ministry of Health. The community action component of Like Minds, Like Mine includes the Anti-Stigma and Discrimination Education Fund.

The objectives of the Like Minds, Like Mine programme are that:

  • workplace policies, structures and cultures are supportive and inclusive of people experiencing mental distress
  • positive portrayals of people with mental illness are depicted in the media
  • communities take action to increase social inclusion.

National messaging through the Like Minds, Like Mine marketing campaign promotes the conditions of respect, equality and social inclusion among family, whānau and friends of people experiencing mental distress.

Learn more about Like Minds, Like Mine

Research and evaluation

We monitor key health indicators, behaviours and attitudes of mental health and wellbeing through the New Zealand Mental Health Monitor and the Health and Lifestyles Survey. We also inform and evaluate activities, programmes and initiatives within our mental health work. 

View our mental health research publications

In your community

We work with others to deliver innovative community projects. Examples are the continuation of the anti-stigma and discrimination education projects and the delivery of the Rākau Roroa (Tall Trees) lived experience leaders’ initiative. We support the Mental Health Foundation to work with the media to encourage non-discriminatory reporting and administer a community grants fund. 

We have resources that you can share with your community including your family, workplace, sports club, community group, or school.

Order resources

The Lowdown

The Lowdown is a website to help young New Zealanders recognise and understand depression or anxiety. By encouraging early recognition and help for depression or anxiety we intend to reduce the impact depression or anxiety has on the lives of young New Zealanders, now and throughout their adult lives. However you might be feeling, The Lowdown is full of ideas and people who can help you get unstuck and get to a better place.

On the website site you can find:

  • helpful information on anxiety, depression (and other issues they may be struggling with like leaving school or getting on with their parents)
  • videos of 13 real young people telling their stories
  • quick steps to help build healthy mental wellbeing
  • healthy behaviours to build resilience
  • places to go to get help
  • information for anyone worried about a friend
  • a moderated forum for you to share stories and experiences and provide peer-to-peer support.

Our work is supported by a marketing approach that includes social media and digital advertising and print resources. There is also a telephone and text service that offers advice and counselling for young people seeking help for themselves or others. Homecare Medical provides this service.

Visit thelowdown.co.nz

Programme insights

We undertake a range of activities to inform our programme development and to help us understand our communities.

In 2019, we undertook a rapid social innovation project to build understanding about how we might contribute to improving the social, emotional and mental wellbeing of mothers in Aotearoa. This report, Mai te whai-ao ki te ao mārama: Coming into the light – Mothers’ experiences of distress and wellbeing during pregnancy and the first year of motherhood, provides insights from a small group of women with lived experience of mental distress. This is part of a wider area of work to discover how Te Hiringa Hauora can work with our partners to support positive maternal mental health and wellbeing.