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Minister launches innovative project helping young people

Minister Paula Bennett launches innovative project helping young people find Common Ground with parents, family and friends


Tuesday 8 July

On Thursday 10 July, Minister for Social Development, Hon Paula Bennett, will launch Common Ground – a place of support - at the Mental Health Foundation’s Auckland offices.

“Whānau and friends can play a vital role in supporting young people facing mental health issues, and the Common Ground initiative will help people with concerns to access the advice and support they need,” Mrs Bennett said.

Common Ground is an innovative project that aims to ensure that parents, family, whānau and friends have access to quality but easily understood information on young people’s mental health and wellbeing for families and friends.

“Common Ground is a key addition to Ministry of Social Development-led work as part of the Prime Minister’s Youth Mental Health Project, and will provide people with a range of information and tools to help when their friends or family members are struggling,” Mrs Bennett said.

The website, phone line and information pack service give whānau access to information, tools and support so they can assist young people to get the right kind of help when they need it.

Moira Clunie, project manager for Common Ground at the Mental Health Foundation, says the internet is often the first place young people and their whānau turn for information about issues they are facing.

“We were aware that some of the information about issues affecting young people’s mental health and wellbeing on the internet may be unreliable or even unsafe. We’ve created a resource that is relevant to a New Zealand audience, and targeted at young people and their families, rather than health professionals,” Ms Clunie says.

One of the most innovative aspects of Common Ground is the emphasis on sharing ideas and experiences that acknowledge the expertise and wisdom of parents, whānau and young people themselves.

The Common Ground website ( will be a place where people can connect to share their own experiences and suggestions about supporting the young people in their lives.

It will feature a series of videos exploring the challenges faced by young people within a fictional community. At the end of each video, viewers will be asked for suggestions and lived expertise – what’s worked for them, which services have helped, and the best advice they can offer. This will then form the first part of the next episode where this feedback will be explored. The first video will be launched on Thursday 10 July.

Common Ground is a Prime Minister’s Youth Mental Health Project initiative, in collaboration with the Mental Health Foundation, Skylight and Youthline, with support fromCurative and innovate change.


Note: The Common Ground website ( will be live from Wednesday evening.

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