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Youth depression site support from sport heroes

Youth depression website gets support from top New Zealand sporting heroes

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Press Release
December 5, 2008
For Immediate Release

Youth depression website gets support from top New Zealand sporting heroes, an interactive website created to help young people understand, deal with and recover from depression, has recently been updated with videos from some of New Zealand’s top sporting talent wanting to share their own personal stories with young Kiwis about how they got to a better place.

Stories from 16 sporting talents including the likes of kayaker, swimmer, Olympic & Commonwealth athlete, Steven Ferguson; Ironman, Aaron Flemming; former Olympic and Commonwealth swimmer, Trent Bray; professional skateboarder, Justin Watene, and wakeboarder, Andrea Fountain have been added to the website,.

Ex-All White Football Player, Noah Hickey says “I felt privileged to be asked to do a personal video for, because it is a fantastic opportunity to help young people. I wish there had been a similar resource available which I could have accessed when I was going through a tough time as a teenager.”

“I believe hearing supportive stories from role models will help young people realise they are not alone, there is help out there and they can get through it. Our stories show that people from any walk of life can go through tough times and experience depression, but that you can recover and get to a better place.” website was launched as part of the Ministry of Health's National Depression Initiative at the end of 2007. Since its launch the site has received over 95,000 visitors and the support team have sent and received 61,227 texts and 4,567 emails.

Aaron Flemming has overcome huge adversity in his young life, suffering a collapsed lung and being told he would never again be physically active, to become a New Zealand Ironman and Olympic torch bearer for the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games.

In his video story featured on Aaron talks about how he personally got through his darkest period. He says “set yourself small, achievable goals – things to work towards will help take the focus away from your feelings of depression and sadness. Celebrate and reward yourself each time you achieve one of those goals.”

“Find someone in the community, within your circle of friends, or a family member who you can rely on and talk to about how you’re feeling. It helps to talk to someone and let things out. has a fantastic professional support team who are always available to listen and provide friendly advice,” he adds.

The personal videos from the country’s top sporting talent joins other videos on the website from musicians, actors and TV presenters, as well as everyday young Kiwis.

There is lots of other useful information at 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 for free via email and text.

Visit to check out the latest personal videos from top Kiwi sporting heroes.


Notes to editors:

Depression website for young people
Noon till midnight, 365 days a year
Email the Lowdown team in the chat section of the website
Text for free on 5626

• The new sporting talent featured on include:

Andrea Fountain Wakeboarder
Haimona Ngata BMX Rider
Ben Brown Kayaker
Bruce Kendal Windsurfing
Aaron Gilmore Dancer
Aaron Fleming Ironman
Brad Smeele Wakeboarder
Robett Hollis Snowboarder
Cat Finlayson Hockey Player (Jnr Blacksticks)
Nicky Coles Olympic Rower/Former World Champion
Kaytee Boyd NZ National Road Race Team and Mountain Biker
Noah Hickey Ex-All White Football Player
Steven Ferguson Kayaker, Swimmer, Olympic & Commonwealth Athlete
Tomas Battersby Snowboarder
Trent Bray Former Olympic and Commonwealth Swimmer
Justin Watene Professional Skateboarder

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