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New youth mental health initiative launched

Hon Paula Bennett

Minister for Social Development

10 July 2014 Media Statement

New youth mental health initiative launched

Social Development Minister Paula Bennett has today launched ‘Common Ground’, an exciting new addition to the Prime Minister’s Youth Mental Health Project.

“Common Ground has been designed as an online ‘first stop’ for anyone concerned about a young person’s emotional wellbeing,” Mrs Bennett said.

Including a website, a free phone line, social media channels, and links to other services and resources, Common Ground seeks to make sure people get the information they need when it comes to youth mental health.

Around one in five New Zealanders experience a mental health issue during their teens, and many of these issues like depression or anxiety, can continue to affect them throughout their lives.

Adding to the development of Common Ground was a series of interviews carried out between MSD and people who’d sought help on behalf of a young person they were concerned about.

A common theme in these interviews was that many people were unsure where to even start looking for help, and that they were unsure what signs they should be concerned about or not.

This is where Common Ground will make a difference, by being a first point of contact for parents, caregivers, siblings and friends to go to, and get the support they need.

“Common Ground is also a fantastic example of government working alongside community organisations to develop an effective solution to the tough issue of youth mental health,” Mrs Bennett said.

“Smart and innovative ideas like this will go a long way to keeping the conversation around youth mental health issues going, an important part in making it easier for young people to get help.”

The Common Ground hub is available here: www.commonground.org.nz

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