Feeling Down, Worried Or Stressed?

Feeling Down, Worried Or Stressed?

SPARX is a a free online tool for young people. It teaches them the key skills to help fight mild to moderate depression, anxiety or stress.


What is SPARX?

SPARX is a self-help e-therapy tool for rangatahi aged between 12 and 19. It teaches young people the key skills to help fight mild to moderate depression, anxiety and stress.

SPARX acts like a video game and users have an avatar they use to complete tasks which help them deal with negative thoughts and feelings.  

Watch this video to find out more about SPARX 

How does SPARX work? 

When using SPARX, young people enter a portal into a 'game world' where they learn new skills which they can practice before applying them to real life.   

SPARX uses a therapy called Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, which helps support people with depression and anxiety. 

There are 7 levels, each taking about half an hour to complete. It's recommended young people complete 1 or 2 levels a week so they have time to use the new skills they learnt. It's also recommended they complete all 7 levels.  . 

Watch this video to see how SPARX works  

What do young people think about SPARX?

SPARX users say the tool has helped them learn new skills to feel better. 

Watch this video to hear what SPARX players say about the tool 


Who created SPARX? 

SPARX was developed by a team of researchers from the University of Auckland. 

As well as the SPARX e-therapy programme, the website also offers:

  • a mood quiz to help young people identify depression
  • information on where to get help

See the SPARX website

Will SPARX help my child?  

Research has shown SPARX can be helpful for rangatahi aged between 12 and 19 who have mild to moderate depression or are feeling anxious, stressed or worried. 

Older and younger people who have used the tool have said it was helpful, but there have been no scientific studies for this age group. 

Where to get more help

It is important to seek help for your child if they are not getting better or have any thoughts on hurting or killing themselves. 

If they have thoughts about hurting or killing themselves you or your child can call or text 1737 any time for support from a trained counsellor, or contact your family GP, a counsellor or another helpline. 

Call 111 (in New Zealand) if you, your child or someone else is in immediate danger (use the appropriate emergency number in other countries).

Find more online tools and programmes to support mental wellbeing

This page last reviewed 25 May 2022.

Call Healthline on 0800 611 116 any time of the day or night for free health advice when you need it