Mental Illnesses and Disorders
What lies behind young kiwi minds?
Why is it a problem?
Why is it a problem?
What is mental health?
Broadly speaking, mental health is your emotional, psychological, and social wellbeing. And a mental health condition can occur when ongoing symptoms cause frequent distress and affect your ability to function.
Is good mental health being ‘happy all the time’?
Not necessarily. Everyone has good days and bad days. And sometimes life can throw surprises and problems at us that are difficult to deal with. But good mental health is generally regarded as:
• feeling positive about ourselves and others most of the time,
• being able to form good relationships,
• having the resilience to overcome challenges.
Mental health and young people
There are about 800,000 young people (aged between 12 and 24) in New Zealand – and having healthy and happy young people will ensure a healthier society for New Zealand, both now and in the future.
How does ‘poor mental health’ happen?
Why have youth mental health rates risen so quickly in Aotearoa New Zealand? The research suggests that the answers are many and varied – and there is no easy answer or quick fix. Here are ten common contributing factors:
• alcohol and/or drug misuse or abuse
• physical or sexual abuse; bullying or domestic violence; early life trauma
• social isolation/loneliness
• poverty or social deprivation; unemployment or job loss
• expectations created by social media and technology
• educational structures
• poor physical health
• changing parenting, family and social contexts
Did you know?There are rising rates of youth depression in New Zealand, with mental morbidity rates (physical and psychological deterioration) more than doubling over the last two decades, for both males and females.
WHAT ARE WE DOING TO HELP?
Here are just some of the projects we are funding to help address New Zealand’s troubling youth mental health statistics.
Self-harm resource development
Self-harm is relatively prevalent among young people in New Zealand, yet there are very few resources to help families support their young people who are struggling with it. To help address this, we’re funding an important new project that will develop resources to help parents, caregivers and whānau to respond to the needs of young people who self-harm.
Wearable tech to help with anxiety
Building resilience in adolescents is vital to sustaining wellbeing and reducing mental distress. This project will investigate how wearable technology can be used to identify the early changes associated with an anxiety episode in adolescents, in order to provide the opportunity for earlier brief intervention.
The impact of adverse childhood experiences
Using data from a previous research study of prenatal exposure to methamphetamine, Associate Professor Dr Trecia Wouldes, and her team are investigating whether meth-exposed adolescents have more health, mental health and behavioural problems than those who are not. They will also compare these results to other childhood adversities.
Using ancestral knowledge as a framework for Māori wellbeing
Associate Professor Leonie Pihama will lead a project concerning the place of mātauranga Māori (Māori knowledge) in the development of evidence-based, cultural interventions to improve the mental health and wellbeing of young Māori.
10 Active Mental Illnesses and Disorders projects
Is there an app for that?Awarded $791,587Mental Illnesses and Disorders
Improved reporting aims to reduce youth suicideAwarded $130,287Mental Illnesses and Disorders
Mindfulness treatment for children with attention deficit disorder (ADHD)Awarded $49,990Mental Illnesses and Disorders
Shining a light into dark placesAwarded $107,759Mental Illnesses and Disorders
Geospatial study of environmental effects on kids' mental healthAwarded $499,933Mental Illnesses and Disorders
A sleep app to improve teenage mental healthAwarded $109,923Mental Illnesses and Disorders
Dissemination of ancestral knowledge to improve children's health and wellbeingAwarded $125,000Mental Illnesses and Disorders
A new sleep initiative for improving teen mental health and wellbeingAwarded $109,249Mental Illnesses and Disorders
Can wearable technologies help improve mental health?Awarded $404,362Mental Illnesses and Disorders
Using children's eye movements to diagnose, characterise and treat autism spectrum disorderAwarded $140,000Mental Illnesses and Disorders
Help fund our big research.
Every cent helps, no matter how small.
We are currently supporting over $16 million of child health research projects.Learn more
Preterm Health4 Active projects$861.5K
Childhood Cancers4 Active projects$3.2M
Maternal and Infant Conditions5 Active projects$995.2K
Rheumatic Heart Disease1 Active project$3.2M
Childhood Development and Learning Difficulties8 Active projects$1.6M
Neurological and Neurodevelopmental Disorders2 Active projects$1.1M
Obesity, Growth Disorders & Nutrition5 Active projects$1.4M
Mental Illnesses and Disorders10 Active projects$2.9M
Oral and Dental Disease2 Active projects$151K
Genetic Conditions and Rare Disorders5 Active projects$1.5M
Respiratory Conditions3 Active projects$735.8K
Infectious Disease1 Active project$100K
Gastrointestinal Conditions1 Active project$450K