Taha hinengaro: mental wellbeing
Feeling good and staying mentally strong
In Whare Tapa Whā, mental wellness isn’t possible if the other parts of wellbeing are broken because it depends on the strength of your connections with others, with nature and with the spiritual and physical parts of you.
Look after your taha hinengaro by doing things that make you happy, and by knowing what feelings are normal and when to get help.
It sometimes feels like the things that make us happy or miserable are outside our control- like how a friend or partner is behaving, how much money’s in the bank, how long it takes the landlord to fix the leaking roof.
But scientists believe you can make yourself feel happier by developing some simple habits, like reflecting on the things that are good about your life and doing things for other people.
The Mental Wealth website has a whole section dedicated to feeling good. It’s full of science-backed advice about how you can be happier, from practicing gratitude to getting a good night’s sleep.
Feeling low or worried?
Feeling worried, panicky, sad or low every now and then is normal- but if these feelings don’t go away after a few weeks, or they start getting in the way of your daily life, it’s important to see a doctor about them. Book an appointment with a doctor or GP.
It takes courage to accept that something isn’t right and ask for help. It’s not easy, but it’s the important first step to dealing with your feelings.
The Lowdown website has heaps of useful information about mental wellness for rangatahi and the things that might affect it, like school, friendships or grief.
At depression.org.nz, you can find expert advice about:
- the causes of mental distress
- how to recognise it, and
- where to get help.
The site has an online test you can do to find out what might be causing your feelings, and separate sections about how being anxious or depressed might feel if you’re Māori or Pasifika.
The Ministry of Health website has expert advice and resources about different kinds of mental illness and how to cope with them.
Everyone feels angry, jealous or hurt from time to time- it’s what you do with your feelings that matters. If you’re always on edge, you explode without warning or you lose control when you get angry, it could be time to work out what’s causing your feelings and find some healthy ways to deal with them.
At the Mental Health Foundation website, you’ll find useful advice about how to recognise angry feelings in yourself or others, and when to get help.
For lots of young people, experimenting with alcohol and drugs is part of growing up- but if the way you use these substances is causing problems in your life or making you unhappy, it might be time to ask whether you have an addiction.
Recognising that you might have a problem is hard and brave, but you’re not alone- the charity Action on Addiction estimates that 1 in 3 people has an addiction of some kind. It might surprise you to learn that, as well as drugs and alcohol, we can be addicted to anger, sex, food and technology.
If you’re worried about your drinking or drug-taking, you can ring the alcohol and drug telephone helpline 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. They’ll give you free professional advice, and they don’t judge.
0800 787 797
Get the right help
A doctor is the best person to help you if your taha hinengaro is suffering. A doctor can give you an expert opinion about what you’re going through and get you the treatment that will help you feel better.
But there’s other help out there if you’re not feeling well.
Free online therapy
SPARX is a free online therapy tool that has been proven to help young people with mild to moderate depression and anxiety. You can sign up and get started online.
Talk to someone
You can talk to someone on The Lowdown’s webchat, or call their free 24/7 helpline.
0800 111 757
Contact Youthline by text, webchat or email, or on their free 24/7 helpline.
0800 376 633