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What is mental illness?

Mental-health problems are labels for complex responses to the world that keep us stuck in distressing or unhelpful experiences. Mental illness is the popular term used to talk about mental-health problems. Mental- health problems are just as serious as physical illnesses but they are not as easy to understand.


What is recovery?

Recovery is what we call wellness for people who have experienced mental disorder or unwellness. Mental disorder diagnoses are labels for clusters of responses that together work to keep us stuck in distressing or unhelpful experiences. There are heaps of ways to change these experiences.


Supporting recovery

Mental disorders are bio-psycho-social conditions. This means they have their origins in our bodies, minds and environments with deep-felt effects across all levels of daily functioning.


Understanding the role of biology

The body and the brain are crucial determinants of health and well being. They are our instruments for processing information about the world and responding to it. These instruments are just part of the complex system involved in the human experience of mental health and unwellness.


Understanding treatment approaches

Studies have shown that often the key to effective therapy is more about the quality of the relationship between the treatment provider and the client than it is about the type of therapy. However, some approaches do appear to be better suited for particular problems. This sheet is not an exhaustive list but it outlines the main, modern approaches to non- medical treatment, what they involve and what the evidence suggests.


Understanding treatment providers

There are many different professionals who work in or around the field of mental health. Each one has a different area of specialised knowledge and does something different. This information pack is designed to help you identify what kinds of professionals you would like to have involved in your journey towards improved mental health and wellbeing.


Accessing free treatment

There are a number of different ways you might be able to access free treatment for mental unwellness. If your GP is part of the ProCare PHO, you may be eligible for funded GP mental healthcare AND access to 4-6 sessions of psychological intervention (and in some instances funded psychiatric review if indicated).


Your Community Resources Directory

Part of wellbeing is connecting with a community in which you are valued, safe and able to create the life you want to live. In addition to support and treatment, we all need to find what ‘floats our boat’ and connect with other people who enjoy it too.




0800 LIFELINE (0800 543 354)
Text HELP (4357) for free
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Suicide Prevention Helpline

0508 TAUTOKO (0508 828 865)
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0800 376 633
Text 234 for free
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0800 726 666
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Depression Helpline

0800 111 757
Text 4202 for free
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Community Action on Suicide Prevention Education and Research
0508 CASPER (0508 227 737)
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Alcohol and Drug Hotline

General: 0800 787 797
Maori Line: 0800 787 798
Pasifika Line: 0800 787 799
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Alcoholics Anonymous (AA)

0800 229 6757
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Narcotics Anonymous

0800 NA TODAY (0800 628 632)
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Engage Aotearoa

Engage Aotearoa

Our friends at Engage Aotearoa have put together the most comprehensive list of community support and help services available in New Zealand.

Engage Community Resources Directory

The Key To Life Charitable Trust values and wholly endorses the work by our peers at Engage Aotearoa and we thank them again and again for the important work they do.
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If it is an emergency, please call 111 for immediate medical attention.

Need Help?

Whether you want to improve your own mental health, or support someone else, you?ll find a wide range of tools, contacts and resources to help you NOW.

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