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Website kicks of Mental Health Week w Youth Event


Press Release
October 1, 2008
For Immediate Release

The Lowdown.co.nz website kicks of Mental Health Week with Youth Event

To help launch Mental Health Week (6th – 10th October), the Lowdown.co.nz team are inviting young Kiwis to an event being held at Snow Planet in Auckland.

This coming Sunday, young people have been invited to come along and tear up the slopes, or just chill out while PNC, David Dallas and DJ Mouli drop some fat beats and let the freestyles roll.

Candace Bagnall, Ministry of Health NDI spokesperson says, “Mental Health Week is one week of the year, but an important one for us to be able to encourage everyone to take a minute to recognise the hundreds of young Kiwis dealing with depression.”

“The event this Sunday is designed to help raise awareness for youth depression and theLowdown.co.nz website. TheLowdown.co.nz website is a friendly and welcoming, interactive online space that has been created to help young New Zealanders understand, deal with and recover from depression,” says Bagnall.

The website features personal video stories of support from musicians, actors and TV presenters that young people will identify with as well as stories from everyday New Zealanders. The stories aim to help people who are experiencing depression feel like they are not alone and get to a better place.

“Depression is much more common than you think – more people than you realise will experience it at some point in their lives. The statistics are sobering –one in seven young New Zealanders will experience serious depression over the next 12 months, a condition closely linked to suicidal behaviour. Suicide is the second most common cause of death amongst youth,” adds Bagnall.

There is lots of other useful information at TheLowdown.co.nz such as fact sheets and Frequently Asked Questions that give useful advice about depression and tips to help people feel better. And the site is backed up with professional support services accessible via email and text.

ENDS

www.thelowdown.co.nz


Notes to editors:

 The website www.thelowdown.co.nz has been established as the most recent part of the Ministry of Health’s National Depression Initiative, following a mounting body of evidence showing that young people are most receptive to communication via the internet and phone texting.


 Since its launch the site has received over 95,000 unique visitors.


 The following fact sheets are available upon request, or can be downloaded from the www.thelowdown.co.nz website


• Understanding Depression (attached in email)
• Facts about young New Zealanders & depression
• Understanding anxiety
• Options for dealing with depression
• Helping yourself
• How you can help someone with depression
• Problem solving and getting sorted
• Getting the sleep you need
• Drinking, drugs and depression
• Studying and depression
• Sexuality, gender identity and depression
• Suicide
• Depression during and after pregnancy
• Dealing with bullying

Notes for Editors: What’s at the Lowdown?

Navigators
When visitors arrive at the Lowdown they can choose their own online navigator who will show them round the site. The navigators are cool New Zealand band members, actors and presenters that young people relate to.

Stories
The site features video stories from people who have experienced depression themselves (or who know someone close to them who has). Visitors can check out the stories from band members, musicians, actors, sportspeople, presenters, and everyday people too. Their stories tell how they got through their experience with depression and give encouragement and support to the person watching.

Information and Advice
There is lots of other useful stuff on the Lowdown to help visitors understand what they (or someone they know) are going through. They can try the “Self-Test” to see if they might be depressed and to encourage them to take action. Or they can read the “Did You Know?” fact sheets and Frequently Asked Questions that give useful information about depression and tips to help them feel better.

Someone to Talk To
Sometimes it helps people to talk to someone else about how they are feeling. Another key feature of the site is the online support facility where visitors can get expert advice from qualified counsellors. After sending a message by email or text to a counsellor they will receive a personalised response as quickly as possible, and within 12 hours.

There is also a forum where visitors can join the Lowdown community and talk to each other about how they are feeling. People can share their experiences and offer support to their peers, but to check that young people are kept safe, an online moderator keeps an eye on communications.

A Place to Hang Out
Visitors can hang out at the Lowdown and listen to some music from the bands that are featured on the site or they can check out the online polls on different topics to find out how other people think and feel. They can also listen to clips from radio interviews and hear bands, actors, presenters and sports stars talking about what helped them through tough times.

Help Services
It is important for people who are experiencing depression to get help as early as possible. It is also important for them to find a treatment that works for them, and the Lowdown Team is skilled at helping them with this. The Lowdown team offers counseling support via email or text and they have a database of services around the country and can put young people in touch with professional services in their areas.

Celebrities contributing to the Lowdown
P Money/ Scribe/ Brooke Fraser/ Dave Gibson - Elemeno P/ Brad Carter – Steriogram/ Angelo Munro – The Bleeders/ Jason Kerrison – Op Shop/ / Tau Manukia – Spacifix/ Young Sid/ Awa– Nesian Mystik/ Junior – Nesian Mystik/ Paul Roper – Mint Chicks/ Joel Little – Goodnight Nurse/ Tim Arnold – Pluto/ PNC/ Francis Kora – Kora/ Jon Austin - 48 May/ Victoria Girling-Butcher – Lucid 3/ Ben Read – 8 Foot Sativa/ Savage – Dkonz/ Aidee Walker –Outrageous Fortune Actress/ Antonia Prebble – Outrageous Fortune Actress/ Nisha Madhan – Shortland Street/ Lee Donaghue – Shortland Street/ Kimberley Crossman – Shortland Street/ Jaquie Brown – TV Presenter/ Sonia Gray – TV Presenter/ Jane Yee – C4 Presenter/ Phil Bostwick – C4 Presenter/ Tamati Coffey – Breakfast Presenter/ Mike Puru – The Edge DJ/ To'ofiga Fepulea'I - The Laughing Samoans Comedian/ Ma'a Nonu – Ex All Black/ Lisa Li - Miss Chinese NZ

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