National Depression Initiative reaching youth
Hon Dr Jonathan Coleman
Minister of Health
8th March 2017
Health Minister Jonathan Coleman has praised the ongoing work of
the National Depression Initiative (NDI) with latest figures
indicating increased interaction with young people.
"The drivers of mental health and addiction are complex. In line
with international trends, we've seen an increase in demand for
mental health and addiction services," says Dr Coleman.
"The NDI has had an increasingly important role in utilising
technology to ensure people have access to the help and support
they need, at a place and time convenient to them.
"Recent data from the National Telehealth Service shows that
particularly young people under the age of 24 are comfortable to
engage with support services via SMS, email and web chat."
Between October - December 2016 contacts to the National
Telehealth Service Mental Health and Addiction Team via non-phone
channels (SMS, email, webchat) increased to 5,836, up 35 per cent
on the previous three months.
Data shows that where an age was provided to the service 69 per
cent of contacts on SMS, email and webchat were from people under
the age of 24. The 5,836 contacts saw the service exchange 43,768
During this time thelowdown.co.nz unique users increased from
23,616 to 25,121, up 6.3 per cent on the previous three months. The
website had almost 87,000 users in 2015/2016 and has had around 1.5
million unique users since its launch in 2010.
"The Government has invested an extra $300 million into mental
health and addiction services. Taking the total health spend in
this area to around $1.4 billion for this financial year," says Dr
"In Budget 2016 we invested $12 million to further increase
support for people to access mental health services at an earlier
"This year we will be rolling out a mental health triage service
as part of the national telehealth service. This 24/7 service will
ensure a mental health response to people who reach out to police,
health, social, and community services at a time of mental health
crisis or distress.
"The new system will involve a trained expert being on hand to
help identify and coordinate appropriate responses, referrals and
Media contact: Angela Kenealy
Notes to Editors
At the core of the National Depression Initiative are two
For youth there's thelowdown.co.nz which offers information and
tools for handling life issues, stress, depression and anxiety.
This section offers a safe forum where teens can ask questions.
For adults there's depression.org.nz. This includes The Journal, a
self-management tool fronted by Sir John Kirwan, which helps people
stay positive and make lifestyle changes.
These websites are supported by a free and confidential 24/7
helpline 0800 111 757 and text services 4202 (for adults) or 5626
(for young people). Both phone services are part of the National
March 8, 2017