Frequently Asked Questions


Usually when we say that someone ‘has depression’ it means:

They have been feeling down, sad or depressed or they don’t enjoy things that they used to enjoy;

It’s not only because they’re sick or something upsetting has just happened;

The feeling has been happening most of the day, almost every day for at least two weeks; and / or;

It’s getting in the way of their normal school, family or working life.

Some people have some of these feelings a lot, others just a little bit.

Some people will feel worried, stressed, angry, or just not feel much at all, rather than feeling sad or down a lot.

Sometimes there’s no real reason, or people don’t know why they are feeling down, sad or depressed … they just are.

If you feel bad because of something upsetting or nasty happening to you, find someone who can help. This could be a family member, a health professional, or an adult who you can trust.

Free phone 0508 4 SPARX (0508 477 279) / free text to 3110

Call 111 if you or someone else might be unsafe right now.

See ‘Get Help Now’ for other options.

You can also have no energy and feel bad for other reasons – like if you are sick or sometimes if you have another health issue (such as being low in iron). You can check this out with a health professional. For more information see

If you’re feeling like you might be depressed, you’re not alone. Many people have times of feeling depressed or anxious and there are lots of things you can do to help yourself to feel better. Talk with an adult who you can trust or your school counsellor or see your doctor or nurse, or try SPARX! Check out here where to get help.

We’d love to wave a magic wand to stop people feeling low. Unfortunately, we can’t do that. However, there are some simple things that you can do to improve your mood and health.

Check out the Get Help Now section for ways to get help, do SPARX, or try some of these ideas:

DO IT: Have things to do each day. Getting on with chores, having some fun, getting onto a course, or getting a job can help.

DO IT: Build up your skills – get good at something! It might be music, work skills or anything positive that you are into.

DO IT: Exercise so that you build up a sweat for half an hour or more three times a week. This can activate the ‘feel good’ chemicals in your brain.

RELATE: Connect with family or whānau, connect with your own culture or church or spend time with people who believe in you.

RELATE: Talk and listen. Talking with someone like a counsellor, a teacher, a friend, a GP or a youth worker can help.

SOLVE IT: One by one and bit by bit, solve problems that are getting you down. Deal with one problem at a time and get someone to help if it’s hard.

BALANCE: Keep life in balance, try having some fun, do some work, be kind to others each day. Healthy exercise, avoiding alcohol and drugs and getting enough sleep can help.

GET HELP if it’s hard: There are loads of people who are able and willing to help you. Asking for help can be scary but the most rewarding thing you’ll do.

GET HELP: Counselling or therapy can really help. Speak to a counsellor, doctor, youth worker or call a telephone helpline (like 0508 4 SPARX (0508 477 279), or free text 3110) or look up a good website like The Lowdown or click here.

MEDICATION For some people taking medication such as antidepressants can help. Talk with a doctor if you would like to know more.


It is better that you complete one or two SPARX levels a week, rather than doing it all at once. You can then practise the skills in real life before moving onto the next level.

Each level takes about half an hour. Even if you start to feel better, you get the most out of doing all seven levels of SPARX. If you like, ask someone you trust to help you try out the new skills you've learnt.

You should sign out or close your browser once you have finished using the website or SPARX. Then others cannot access your personal information and correspondence.

You can practise the skills in real life, or you can share what you have learnt with someone you trust. Ask them to help you practise or remind you of the new skills you’ve learnt.

Some people worry that using a phone or computer program might mean that young people are less likely to ask other people for help. Actually, computer programs can help people learn how to ask for help and how to talk about what is going on.

However if someone is feeling very down or is having any thoughts about hurting or killing themselves, they need to reach out and talk with someone who is trained to help right now:

Free phone 0508 4 SPARX (0508 477 279) / free text to 3110.

Call 111 if you or someone else might be unsafe right now.

There are lots of ways to help someone using SPARX. It’s important that they know you want to help them, and you’re willing to support them. Ask them what support they would like. You could offer to:

  • Sign up for SPARX yourself so you can try it out and see how it works
  • Do SPARX alongside the person
  • Help them practise skills from SPARX
  • Help them deal with issues that are bothering them
  • Help them do some fun or positive things each day
  • Help them talk to a doctor, school health nurse or counsellor

If you are worried that someone who is using SPARX is not getting better - Get Help Now. SPARX is not a crisis intervention and it’s not enough if someone is suicidal.


Yes, we take your privacy seriously. Your registration details and things you answer in SPARX are encrypted and stored on a secure server. You can read more about it in our Privacy Policy.

SPARX does not share any information about you with anyone. Not with family, not with friends and not through social media such as Facebook.

All personal information you enter through SPARX, and any information that the software may automatically fetch during your visit to the website. When you register as a user and/or use SPARX you agree that we can use any personal information we collect according to the terms of this Privacy Policy.

When you complete SPARX, you will be asked to fill out a short form to rate your mood in Level 1, 4 and 7.

SPARX will suggest that you to seek extra help if your mood is low.

  • to monitor if SPARX is effective
  • to communicate with you about our goods and services from time to time
  • to generate an overview of the user base
  • to analyse trends and demographics to assist us to improve our services
  • facilitate our internal business operations, including to fulfil our legal requirements, quality assurance and management purposes

If we report on the website and SPARX, we will report on a de-identified basis unless we obtain your written approval.

We take reasonable steps to protect all information, which we hold (including your personal information) from misuse, loss, unauthorised access, modification or disclosure.

Information contained on the website is protected by encryption and firewall technology.

We take reasonable steps to hold information securely in electronic or physical form. We store information in electronic databases requiring logins and passwords.

We are not involved in the selling, trading or the unauthorised use of personal information.

Outside of information that you enter on the website, we also receive and store certain types of information when you interact with the website. This is provided using cookies.

Yes. There are other computer programs to help with depression, including The Journal, while other online resources include: