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Ease Up is the name of a youth-focused mental health service.

Ease Up is the name of a youth-focused mental health service.

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Ease Up: Services to target youth struggling with depression and addiction

A new youth-focused service is aiming to provide young people the support they need with overcoming addictions and mental health challenges

Atutahi Potaka-Dewes
Atutahi Potaka-Dewes
03 October 2023, 1:26pm
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A new free online service has been launched to help cater to the hauora, or mental health needs of youth, designed with the guidance from other young people that have gone through similar struggles.

The website is called Ease Up and it delivers wraparound support including easy referral processes and access to professional resources for 12-24 year olds.

Mele Queensell, who is a Pacific leader within Ease Up, says the initiative has had a youth-led design to make it more accessible and relevant to young people in need.

“It’s made to be friendly for them to be able to navigate. It’s easier for them to refer themselves or reach out for help when they need to and not be daunted by having a website that’s informed by us adults, thinking that they (youth) will understand.

“The service is free, you don’t have to pay anything. Just refer in and somebody will contact you and get the ball rolling.”

Queensell says young people are often already guarded and when services are difficult to access, it causes a breakdown in trust and her job is to firstly build rapport.

For Queensell, she’s seen young people internalise their hardships due to bullying, peer pressure, identity issues, cultural disconnection as well as struggles at home.

“It’s really bad, there’s a lot of self-harming happening and some of our young ones are too whakamā (shy) to reach out … they’re too embarrassed to open up because they feel they’re being traitors to their home or the people they live with.”

She says in the five months she has been with Ease Up, she’s seen their service build a stronger healthier future for young people.

“We usually have a peer support worker that goes with us and talks about their life experiences, which makes it so great because it’s usually easier for the young ones to come out and talk when they know somebody that has been through the same thing that they’ve gone through."

Powered by the social service Emerge Aotearoa Trust, Ease Up offers at least three months of (support), brief interventions to help achieve and sustain health and wellbeing goals among youth of all ethnic backgrounds.

Ease Up at the moment has an outreach to west and central Auckland, North Shore/Rodney and south Waikato and has so far received referrals from schools, counsellors, police, youth officers, parents and families and even the young person themselves seeking advice and more in-depth care.

The service provides holistic support to fit the needs of each young person, which is delivered where they feel most comfortable like in their home or a local park.

“The website was created with young people that we’ve helped before so they know the best … our (clinicians) profiles are on there and the young ones can know exactly who they’re working with.”

Queensell, a parent herself, pleads for other parents to have patience and understanding for the sake of their kids.

“Please listen to your kids cause sometimes just listening is the key to them getting help at home before going to somebody else.”

If you or someone you know needs Ease Up services find them online at easeup.org.nz

Listen to the full interview on Pacific Mornings below and please remember to check in with your loved ones.

If you are worried about your or someone else's mental health, the best place to get help is your GP or local mental health provider. However, if you or someone else is in danger or endangering others, call police immediately on 111.


• LIFELINE: 0800 543 354 or 09 5222 999 within Auckland (available 24/7)
• SUICIDE CRISIS HELPLINE: 0508 828 865 (0508 TAUTOKO) (available 24/7)
• YOUTHLINE: 0800 376 633 ,free text 234 or email talk@youthline.co.nz or online chat.
• NEED TO TALK? Free call or text 1737 (available 24/7)
• KIDSLINE: 0800 543 754 (available 24/7)
• WHATSUP: 0800 942 8787 (1pm to 11pm)
• SAMARITANS – 0800 726 666.

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