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Friends & Whānau

What is depression?

Usually when we say that someone ‘has depression’ it means they’ve been feeling down, isolated, or haven’t been able to enjoy the things they used to enjoy. It’s something that takes time to evolve, and isn’t simply because they’re sick or something upsetting has just happened.

Depression will affect someone all day, every day, and will more than likely get in the way of their normal school, family, or working life.

Some people feel the effects of depression a lot, others just a little bit; these feelings include overwhelming or inexplicable worry, stress, anger, or numbness. Sometimes there’s no real reason, or people don’t know why they are feeling down, sad, or depressed – they just are.

If you think someone you know might be depressed, you might be right. 1 in 5 NZ youth experience these same feelings and there are many ways to get through it. Start by asking if they’d like to talk to you, a school counsellor; or a healthcare professional – or try SPARX!

How can I get help right now?

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

Call 111 if someone you know might be unsafe right now.

See Get Help Now for other options.Someone can also have no energy and feel bad for other reasons – like if they’re sick or have other health issues (such as being low in iron).

Make sure to check this out with a healthcare professional. For more information, head to The Lowdown.

What happens after SPARX?

If SPARX has helped them, keep up the good work and positive vibes by helping them practise their new skills in real life, every day. Or, if they feel confident enough, ask them to share what they’ve learnt, or simply remind them to stay on top of their skills regularly. 

If they’ve completed all levels and they’re still not feeling better, that’s okay! It just means their situation needs some personal time and attention. Talk to them about potentially getting some professional or medical help.

Are there downsides to e-therapy?

While some worry that using a phone or computer programme might mean that young people are less likely to approach others and reach out for help, it’s actually quite the opposite! Computer programmes can help people learn how to ask for help and how to fully express their thoughts and feelings when the time’s right.

How do I support someone using SPARX?

There are many ways to help – it all starts by simply making yourself available and willing to listen. It’s also very important that they know you want to help them, and you’re willing to support them.

First, 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’re worried that someone who is using SPARX is not getting better head to our Get Help Now page for more resources. 

Remember: SPARX is not a crisis intervention and it’s not enough if someone is suicidal.

Check it out for yourself

or sign up on behalf of someone else