Online Tools To Support Mental Wellbeing

Online Tools To Support Mental Wellbeing

Various digital tools, apps and programmes can help tamariki and rangatahi struggling with their mental wellbeing. These interactive programmes teach them skills to help them if they are feeling down, depressed, anxious or stressed. 

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How can online programmes help my child? 

There are a number of free New-Zealand based digital programmes which can help children and teenagers struggling with their mental wellbeing. The programmes were developed by health professionals and are based on evidence. 

The programmes are for children and youth who are going through a hard time - they might be worried or stressed about something, feeling depressed or anxious. 

The programmes may help them:

  • learn new skills to deal with negative thoughts and feelings
  • discover wellbeing exercises they can do to make them feel better
  • connect with friends and whānau for support

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 mental health helplines and support services

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. The tasks help them deal with negative thoughts and feelings. 

Read about SPARX in te Reo Māori (PDF, 192KB).

Find out more about SPARX

Visit the SPARX website.

Watch this video by SPARX to find out more about the tool.

Whitu 7 ways in 7 days

Whitu is an app which teaches self-help skills to young people aged between 16 and 25. The app provides users with a 7 day plan which includes strategies to help them reduce anxiety, improve their wellbeing and help them through the COVID-19 pandemic.

The app is targeted at New Zealanders and uses a holistic approach to wellbeing. It helps with skills such as goal setting, relaxing, being kind to oneself and looking after your body. Whitu 7 ways in 7 days is available for download from the App Store and Google Play

Read more about Whitu 7 ways in 7 days.

Manaaki Ora 

The Manaaki Ora app is based on the Māori model of health Te Whare Tapa Whā. It is designed to help young people who are going through a hard time or who are depressed. 

The app offers self-help tips and guidance to help users build wellbeing and resilience. It also has a section on how to support others. The app is available to download from Google Play.

Find out more about the Manaaki Ora app.

Aunty Dee 

Aunty Dee helps people work through their problems. It guides users to think about and explore their problems and find solutions to them, rather than allowing problems to overwhelm them. 

The web-based tool is based on structured problem solving - it doesn't provide answers or solutions, but helps users explore their problems in a structured way. 

Aunty Dee is for 14-25-year-olds and was created by Le Va, an organisation which supports Pasifika families.

Visit the Aunty Dee website.

Watch this video from Le Va to find out more about how Aunty Dee works.

Village 

Village is an app which supports rangatahi going through a hard time. The app allows them to connect with trusted friends and whānau so they are supported at times when they may be struggling.

The app uses interactive questions to help users deal with challenging emotions and offers personalised tips to help them when they are feeling low. Village is available to download from the App Store and Google Play.

Visit the Village website.

Learn more about the Village app in this video from the Starship Foundation.

Small steps 

The Small Steps website is a place where people can take small steps to improve their wellbeing. The website provides digital tools designed to help people manage stress, calm their mind and lift their mood. 

Tools include:

  • deep breathing
  • muscle relaxation
  • mindful watching
  • building self-worth

Small Steps was developed by Te Hiringa Hauora in partnership with Clearhead. 

Visit the Small Steps website

Just a thought

Just a thought offers free online therapy courses aimed at people aged 16 years and over. There are courses on depression, anxiety, social anxiety, insomnia and one to help people during the COVID-19 pandemic.  

People can use the free tool themselves or with a health professional. 

Visit the Just a thought website.

Watch this video about the Just a thought website.

Mindshift 

The Mindshift app is aimed at helping people who suffer from anxiety. It guides them to explore their thinking and make positive changes, connects them with other people experiencing similar feelings and helps people overcome their fears.

The tools can help people overcome: 

  • worry
  • panic
  • perfectionism
  • social anxiety
  • phobias

The Mindshift app is available for download on the App Store and Google Play.

Find out more about Mindshift

Watch this video from Anxiety Canada about the Mindshift app.

My Anxiety Plan (MAP)

MAP is an anxiety management plan for parents and caregivers to "coach" anxious children or teens using practical strategies and tools to manage anxiety. The programme includes 6 units with 46 lessons and takes about 4 hours to complete. The units are aimed at helping whānau understand anxiety and learn strategies to help their child. 

Find out more about MAPs.

Other useful websites 

Le Va's Mental Wealth website is a mental health literacy education programme for young people. It aims to give young people and their whānau knowledge, tools and skills to reduce stigma, improve wellbeing, spot warning signs of mental distress, and enhance access to the right care and support when they need it. Check out the Mental Wealth website

The Mana Restore section on the Mental Wealth website is aimed at gamers. It includes information on healthy gaming, screen time tips and online bullying, among other topics. 

More KidsHealth content on emotional and mental wellbeing

Find out more about anxiety

Find out more about depression

Get parenting support for your child's emotions and behaviour

See KidsHealth's section on emotional and mental wellbeing

This page last reviewed 05 July 2022.

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