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ASB and Youthline announce partnership to 'boost' youth mental wellbeing

Contributor:
Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

ASB has today announced a three-year partnership with Youthline. The new relationship will see ASB become Youthline’s principal partner, providing financial and in-kind support to boost Youthline’s activities in supporting rangatahi experiencing or at risk of experiencing mental distress.

Youthline has been helping young New Zealanders for over 50 years. Since the COVID-19 outbreak, the service has experienced a significant spike in levels of demand and risk across its services. During last year’s lockdown period, Youthline’s Helpline managed the highest number of critical incidents (117) in a single week in the organisation’s 51-year history.

ASB Chief Executive Officer Vittoria Shortt says, "New Zealand is currently facing a youth mental health crisis and the uncertainties of the past two years have unfortunately accelerated this trend as many young Kiwis have experienced disruption to their social connections and usual way of life. ASB wants to accelerate the mahi Youthline’s doing and help support even more young people."

ASB has a longstanding commitment to helping young New Zealanders build the strong foundations they need to succeed and thrive in life. This support includes teaching children practical financial management skills through the ASB GetWise programme, to giving children essential first-aid skills with ASB St John in Schools and partnering with KidsCan to support children affected by poverty. Partnering with Youthline is a natural next step in enabling the mental resilience of more young New Zealanders.

Youthline’s research [i] shows young people (13-24 years) consider mental health to be the biggest issue facing their generation, and almost half of young Kiwis don’t feel they have positive ways to cope with their problems, up 10% since 2019.

"This new partnership with ASB means we can be there for more young New Zealanders when it matters," says Youthline Chief Executive Officer, Shae Ronald.

"We’re incredibly excited to be working alongside ASB to create new ways of supporting rangatahi as an outcome of our partnership. Work is already underway to develop a new student-led mental wellbeing programme for schools."

The new programme involves Year 11 and 12 students (ages 15-16) and will launch in five Auckland-based schools next year before being introduced to more schools nationally from 2024. The programme will be activated first at schools where it is most needed.

"The programme aims to develop student leaders within the participating schools. They will be there to help provide a listening ear - a sort of first base if their mates need support and navigate them to that support," says Ms Ronald.

"These student leaders will be provided with intensive training and ongoing support from Youthline, so they know how to respond to the immediate needs of other young people and support them to get help."

The programme aims to strengthen access to wellbeing support within schools and within the community, by recognising the important role that teens can play in helping to navigate other young people to appropriate mental health support.

"ASB’s ambition for the partnership is that any young New Zealander who is struggling knows they can reach out to Youthline for support. We want rangatahi to know that whatever’s going on, it’s ok to reach out and ask for help" says Ms Shortt.

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