How to connect

Staying connected to friends, whānau, school, work, nature and the world around you is critical to your wellbeing.

Face to face connections are best, but even picking up the phone or making a video call can help. When was the last time you talked to family outside your city?

Traditionally, for Māori and Pasifika cultures, connecting through relationships are all part of good health and wellbeing – relationships are sacred, so all the more reason to do what our ancestors did, and connect with people.

Talk to someone – a problem shared is a problem halved.

We need to talk if we’re feeling stressed to get stuff out of your head, and to let others know what you’re going through. Talking helps us process thoughts and feelings and reach out for help when we need it.

There are all sorts of people in your community that you could choose from, like a trusted mate, family member, school teacher, church leader, or sports coach.

There’s also professional support you can talk to, like:

  • If you’re at school or uni, you can access student counselling.
  • Your GP or family doctor can help recommend an approach for you and might also suggest medications.
  • Try free counselling support online, by text or on the phone.

Talking with a trusted mate or support person can help you feel more understood, accepted, and they can help get you more support if needed.

Random tips for talking:

  • If you feel like talking to family you live with, and you don’t know where to start, sometimes just sitting in the dining room or living room, will invite people to talk with you. Staying in your room won’t start a conversation.
  • When you’re angry, venting and letting it all out can help relieve stress. However you will want to make sure you have the right person to vent to. You should also start off by letting the other person know that you need to vent, because when we’re angry, we often say unreasonable things. After venting, it’s good to start thinking positively and about solutions rather than the problem. Try the Aunty Dee app for this.

How to listen

Listening to others is also really important for connecting because it gives us another perspective on things, and it also shows others that we are there for them when they need to talk.

Listening can be harder than it seems though, and we need to practise active listening.

Tips for Active Listening:

  • Have an open mind so that the person feels like you are not judging them.
  • Listen carefully to what is being said, paying attention to body language and the way that the person raises or lowers their voice to get their point across.
  • Maintain eye contact. This can be very hard and scary if you are not used to it, but people appreciate it.
  • Affirm what is being said by nodding when you agree and you could say things like “I see”, “oh wow” etc… but don’t interrupt.
  • Try not to think of your response at all. This tends to make people stop listening and instead just wait for their turn to speak.

Just connect

If talking is not your thing, just connecting with people or nature can work wonders for your wellbeing – and may lead to opening up conversations anyway! Here’s some ideas for building connections:

  • Learn about how you like to connect! Do you like to have lots of friendships where you are happy to put yourself out there and share anything, or do you prefer to have one or two close friendships who are the only people you share certain thoughts with? Knowing this information will help you find the best methods for you to build connections.
  • Make a family facebook group where you can all post photos and information to keep you all connected. This is a great way to keep the generations connected, as well as keeping family members who live far away connected.
  • Connect with whānau. Make an effort to get involved with family dinners, sports or events that your family are involved with. Be yourself around family, they know you well.
  • Go visiting mates or meet them at the beach, café or movies – its good for you to get out of the house, and if you’re not feeling up to it, you can keep the visit short and sweet.
  • Connect with nature.  Spend time in the great outdoors, in the sun.  A change of scenery can help you see things differently.  Fresh air and a good dose of Vitamin D can help you get a better night’s sleep.  When you’re experiencing nature, it can take you mind off things troubling you in life.
  • Join a group – get involved in your local church groups, join a sports team, try a cross-fit session, volunteer – it’s likely you already have friends or whānau doing this, so ask them if you can tag along!
  • Organise a cultural night with friends or family where everyone brings a dish from their different cultures.  Or put on a street barbie and invite the neighbours.
  • Connect with your emotions through listening to your favourite music or learning mindfulness and meditation.


Counselling Online Chat

Check In

Learning about mental health issues means you can check yourself and check in on your mates too. Click and drag side to side to scroll through the topics to learn more.

What is Mental Health?

Mental health is a state of mind.  Everyone has mental health, just as we all have physical health. Having positive mental health means we have strong relationships, and cope with everyday stress in life to reach our full potential.

Find out more

Myth-Busters for Mental Health Problems

Some people misunderstand what mental health problems really are. When this happens we can judge people the wrong way, exclude them and end up being disrespectful. We can change this by busting those myths together!

Find out more

How to check in

Have you got a mate who’s just not themselves lately? Maybe a family member who seems angry or withdrawn? Do you want to say something but are not sure how?

Find out more


It’s normal to feel sad, stressed, angry or miserable, especially if we’ve gone through stressful times.

Depression is more than this.

Find out more


We all know what it’s like to feel worried. Unfortunately for some people, worrying, feeling on edge and panic can be much more intense and overwhelming.

Find out more


A lot of people don’t think alcohol is a drug. It’s actually the most widely used and easily accessible drug in New Zealand. It can have a major impact on your mental health. There’s lots of help available to learn how to ease up on the drink.

Find out more

Being Bullied?

No-one deserves to be bullied. Bullying is a serious problem that can disrupt your life and lead to physical and emotional health problems. You don’t have to go through this alone. Help is available.

Find out more

Online Bullying

Online bullying, or cyber bullying, is when a person uses digital technology to send, post or publish content to hurt someone. There’s lots of tips on how to deal with this.

Find out more

What is healthy gaming?

Gaming is a normal and healthy part of our lives and it can have a positive impact on our mental health and wellbeing. For a small number of young people, gaming can have a more negative impact on everyday life.

Find out more


Grief is our natural response to loss – for example, we experience grief when someone close to us dies. We all experience grief differently. Some people start to feel better in weeks or months, for others, it’s years.

Find out more

Feel Good

There's only one of you and we want you to live well and feel good so you can be your best self. Check out tips and tools on how to feel good.





Looking for ideas of how to reduce our stress and anxiety? Practising mindfulness activities can help us chill out and clear our minds, so we can deal with things better.

Find out more

Sleep Well

A good sleep at night helps you manage better during the day. Learn to overcome those annoying things that keep you awake and how to get a good pattern of sleep.

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Relax. Breathe.

Your mental wealth relies on you taking the time to look after both your body and mind. Sometimes life gets so busy, and you forget to take time out to relax, rest and recharge. Breathing is another way to take your relaxation in life to the next level.

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Grow Gratitude

Did you know that feeling grateful for what we have can improve our mental wealth? Appreciating people and things makes us happy! But it takes a lot of practice so give it a try.

Find out more

Digital Detox

Recharge and refresh yourself! Perhaps it’s time to step away, have a break from those digital devices that take up all of our time and focus. Sometimes we can lose track of reality and our relationships with the real world. A digital detox might just help us recharge, regain sight of what’s important and take better care of ourselves.

Find out more

Eat Well

If we want to feel good, we need to make the right choices about what we eat and drink. What we eat and drink not only affects our appearance, but also our energy levels, and the way we think about feel about ourselves.

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Get Moving

A strong body supports a strong mind and can help us cope with things like stress, anger and anxiety. There’s lots of fun ways to get moving, on your own or with mates. Every little bit counts!

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Spirituality generates positive emotions in people. Whether it’s about having a greater purpose in life, a religion, or living out your personal values, spirituality can make us feel good.

Find out more

Cultural Identity

Culture gives us a sense of belonging, pride and identity. It’s something to celebrate and cherish. Find out how we can discover and nurture our cultural identities.

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Stay Connected

It's a fact that people who are connected are more likely to be happy. Find out how to stay connected so you look after your mental wealth.

Get help now

If you or someone you know is in immediate physical danger, call 111 now. If you’re experiencing mental health problems or need support, help is a phone call away.

Find out more

How to connect

Staying connected to friends, whānau, school, work, nature and the world around you is critical to your wellbeing.

Find out more

Understanding gaming: Tips for friends and whānau

Are you worried about a family member’s gaming habits and internet use? Learn how to engage in conversation with them.

Find out more

Screen Time Tips

We really value screen time because it can be fun and relaxing. But too much screen time can get in the way of other activities that are good for us, like socialising, sleep and exercise.

Finding a balance between time online and other activities is important for your physical and mental health.

Find out more

Intergenerational communication

Connecting with parents, grandparents, aunties or uncles can help us feel a sense of belonging.

Find out more

Aunty Dee

For when life sux, Aunty Dee can help you solve your problems.

Sparx e-therapy

e-therapy for young people who are feeling down, worried or stressed.

For Pasifika

Atu-Mai: culturally-based tools to support Pacific young people to unleash their full potential.


Online safety for New Zealand.


Here to help and here for you. Text Youthline on 234.

The Lowdown

Straighup answers for when life sux.

Common Ground

Advice and information on how to be part of a support network for a distressed young person.