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Youth campaign for better mental health education

Release: Youth campaign for better mental health education heads to Parliament

Credit: ActionStation - WernerKaffl

What: A petition calling for better mental health education in high school curriculum was delivered to Parliament today, 8 June at 11 am.

Over 9,000 people have signed 21-year-old Lucy McSweeney's petition.

Lucy McSweeney was inspired to begin the campaign by her own challenges with mental health in high school.

“I sought help too late and struggled too long because I didn’t have the education to recognise the signs of my depression, and neither did my friends. I was scared of reaching out, because I thought it made me weak. I know if we’d had better education, I could have sought the right help earlier and it would have saved a lot of strife. I want to use my challenging experience to improve the outcomes for other young kiwis ”

It was accepted by Act Party leader and Education Under-Secretary David Seymour, and tabled at Parliament.

Miss McSweeney says she has received cross-party support.

Candidates have told her mental health is a top issue and election-year issue for young people.

“Mental Health problems in youth are so common that if a young person isn’t dealing with it themselves, it’s likely a close friend will be,” she says. “However, they are not given adequate information or support to manage this.”

McSweeney says young people need better tools on hand to deal with mental health issues and know where to go when they are in distress.

“High schools need consistent guidelines, adequate training and funding for the best results.”

“There needs to be more knowledge in schools so young people can recognise the signs of those in need and support their friends.”

McSweeney says students need to be exposed to this every year of school not just to Year 10 as currently occurs.

“It’s common sense - teaching young people a balanced mental health curriculum at school is the way to influence an entire generation,” she says. “Making these tough conversations mandatory will mean a whole generation will grow up just thinking it’s normal to talk candidly about mental health and its effects.


More information


Let's Get Mental Health Education in All NZ Schools

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