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Where can I get help when things get bad?

Sometimes life gets a lot harder than you ever thought it could. During those times you might need a little extra help. There are a number of places that can support you when you don’t feel good.

For straight up answers for when life sucks, visit The Lowdown. They can help with answers around sadness or worries, health and relationships. If you feel lonely or have lost interest in things you enjoy, and can’t figure it out, give The Lowdown a call on 0800 111 757 or text on 5626. They can help you get to the bottom of things.

Another line to text or call when you’re feeling like you need someone to talk to is ‘Need to talk? 1737’. The people on the other end of the line may be a stranger but they won’t feel like one. Text 1737 or call the same number if you are feeling down, have worries, are overwhelmed, are feeling sad, or just want a chat.

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What can I do to help someone who is feeling low?

Checking in with a friend if you think they are feeling low is really important. Even just having someone listen can boost their mood and help them feel better.

However, if you think someone is in danger of hurting themselves or anyone else, make sure you dial 111 and get urgent help.

How can I keep mentally well?

Consider this: mental wellbeing and physical health are one and the same. Your brain isn’t kept in a test tube in an isolated laboratory. It’s housed in your head, and is just as physical as your foot.

This means that diet affects your wellbeing just as it affects your health. Eating healthy makes a big difference to mood, and indulging in unhealthy ‘treats’ can negatively impact your happiness.

Activity levels also affect your mental health, so not moving for most of the day can be disruptive to your wellbeing. Being active for a least some of the day meanwhile can boost your mood.

Mental illness

Even if you are looking after yourself physically, you can still suffer from mental health issues. While mental health is affected by physical health, there are lots of other factors and not all mental health issues can be controlled through diet and lifestyle.

It's important to see your doctor or a counsellor to discuss other treatment alternatives if you aren't feeling well. Mental illness is on the rise and genetics and stress can play a part in triggering these issues.

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A guide to help you stay healthy

The following are four key components to help you stay healthy.

1) Eating well

What you put in your mouth is completely in your control. Healthy eating keeps your body and brain healthy, and there’s no substitute for it. Healthy eating means eating a variety of foods that give you the nutrients you need - even if that means taking a vitamin in addition to your meals.

Unhealthy eating includes overeating and mindless eating (like eating in front of the TV or computer), drinking juices and sweet drinks, eating ready-made foods out of packages (like chips, crackers or biscuits) and not eating enough fruit or vegetables.

Check out the links below for more information on how to eat healthy:

If money is an issue, make sure you have a budget set and then check out this link for ideas:

2) Keeping active

Keeping fit can make you happier and also clears your mind. Getting exercise helps maintain muscle tone and strength, and increases your self-confidence. Physical activity can be anything from boxing at your local gym to dancing in your living room.

The Ministry of Health has a couple of useful articles outlining the benefits of keeping active and how much is recommended:

By exercising and being active regularly, you’ll be respecting your body and helping to maintain that amazing machine of yours.

3) Sleeping enough

Another cornerstone to wellbeing is getting enough sleep. And it is most often perfectly within your control. How much you need varies from person to person. Get enough and you’ll feel on top of the world. Get too little and you may feel like crawling under a rock.

Check out the links below to find out how much sleep you need and for sleeping tips, as well as the connection to mental health.

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4) Connection

Having connections is essential to our happiness. Being heard and understood helps us feel connected to our friends, family and those around us. Even if it’s just sharing a laugh, we feel closer to our family and whānau when we connect with them.

The Mental Health Foundation has created The Five Ways to Wellbeing, which focuses on five ways we can keep up our wellbeing. Check these out, look at the activities and hear other people’s stories:

Incorporating these ways to wellbeing in your day-to-day life will give you a sense of hope and purpose as well as helping you better cope with life stress.

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Key websites

  • Sadness, depression and anxiety affect us all differently. This website has resources that can help you get to a better place mentally.
  • Le Va: Le Va is a national Pasifika programme that offers a range of programmes and initiatives to support mental health and wellbeing.
  • The Lowdown: The Lowdown is a website to help young New Zealanders recognise and understand depression or anxiety. However you may be feeling, the Lowdown is full of ideas and people who can help you get unstuck and get to a better place.
  • Mental Health Foundation: The Mental Health Foundation is an Aotearoa New Zealand charity that helps keep people mentally well. The Five Ways to Wellbeing on their page are key to maintaining health and wellbeing.
  • Youthline works with young people from all walks of life, from all cultures and with all sorts of things going on in their lives. This can be anything from just wanting to talk something through (big or small), to working face to face with a young person or even their whole family.