13 Reasons How We Can Help Young People Survive and Thrive
“Let 13 Reasons Why turn to 13 Reasons How to make a difference to the wellbeing of our young people. These could be
made a priority in Election Year. We could make a big change in the terrible statistics of youth suicides in New Zealand
and to the overall mental well-being of all young people” said New Zealand Association of Psychotherapists (NZAP)
spokesperson, Lynne Holdem.
“We have been watching 13 Reasons Why showing the hazards of navigating adolescence in 2017 while we could help our
real adolescents travel their own troubled waters to safer shores” said Holdem. She asked NZAP members what they would
prioritise in this year’s budget to save and enhance the lives of NZ youth.
NZAP members asked all political parties to consider the following:
1.Mental Health services funded to do the job properly: to offer talk therapies, not just medication or a night in respite-care, and then send them on their way (People's Mental Health Report
). Distressed young people can be taught skills for emotional regulation and mindfulness DBT
in one to one sessions or in groups. Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS) clinicians need to work with
parents as well to support changes in the environment around the vulnerable young person.
allocated to 15-19 year olds is one third of allocation to 60-64 year olds. We could share health dollars more fairly
as younger people do not need as much spent on physical health but badly need good mental ill-health and addiction
2.A Youth-focused space in each city, to provide a safe, welcoming environment, a place of belonging, easy access to counseling support,
development opportunities and youth-specific health services” (Whangarei Youth Space
.) Community education to value our young people and invest in their future well-being.
3.Health-wise schools A Health hub
with social worker
, and nurses
in every secondary school treating the increasing numbers of anxious and self-harming adolescents. Add professionals to
work with their family members so the adolescent and their family understand each other better.
4.Relationship and Sexuality education, for all NZ secondary schools, by well trained 'youth friendly' educators, that is sex- positive and gives students
ability to critically think about sexual attraction, consent, ethics, relationships, the body, gender, pornography and
the online environment. Teach the Skills of resilience and wellbeing: mindfulness and breathing, relationships-how they
are formed and how they can be broken kindly. Implement Restorative Justice
practices, anti-bullying and emotional development education for teachers.
5.Parenting support to educate parents about the Teenage Brain
, empathic listening, validation and being there when teens are “falling apart” or “losing it.” (Family Connections
6.Support Key to Life
, Youthline and other community organisations, so good counsellors and other peer supports are available to youth while providing
relationship training to the volunteers. Also initiatives like The Low Down
7.Community Belonging Let team sports, kapa haka, music, drama, dance, yoga, martial arts develop emotional and social skills, increase
connection and resilience in children, youth and young adults. Connected communities, where neighbours know neighbours,
welcome strangers and provide social belonging and connection are harbors of personal and community well-being.(Community Taranaki
8.Lower the voting age to 16 -We need to listen and respect the views of young leaders in public conversations and lowering the voting age to 16 may
be a way to empower that constituency and achieve a fairer age based access to resources and opportunities. Have a Youth Parliament
9.Whanau Ora services resourced to heal generational trauma of whanau and iwi, to strengthen identity and resilience in rangatahi
and young people. Parenting courses available to young parents to strengthen identitity and well-being that are based in
Maori values and practices. (Hoki ki te Rito -Ohomairanga Trust
10.Addiction services available to everyone that needs them so people with Adverse Childhood Experiences
who seek comfort in drugs can address their trauma and get free of the downward spiral of addiction. This is especially
important when young men are leaving jail and trying to integrate back into the community.
11. Early intervention Heal relationships in family and whanau by intervening at the first sign of domestic violence or child distress- not
waiting until the situation is so bad that the children need to be uplifted. Keep children with parents or hapu wherever
possible by resourcing grandparents
and other kin when they need to take children into care.
12.Attachment informed early interventions for parents of new babies during their first 1000 days focused on understanding
relationships and developing empathy for children, not just behavior management techniques. Circle of Security
parenting available to families who need help to create security for their infants. Parenting course bonus
available to bring commitment to change.
13.Longer Election cycle to give politicians courage to address homelessness, increasing rich poor class divide, earthquakes and weather
vulnerabilities, house price hikes that create mental ill-health and split apart families.
Holdem says she wants to see harbours of community kindness, life-saver experiences and light-houses of hope for young
people to help them navigate Adolescent’s tricky and troubled waters.
NZAP Public Issues Portfolio