Skip to main content

To: The House of Representatives

Fund and Implement Mental Health Skills Training Programmes in all NZ Schools

Fund and Implement Mental Health Skills Training Programmes in all NZ Schools

Dear Ministers, we ask you to add a policy to the Educational Council Codes and Standards that says all teachers must be trained in, and practice in their classrooms a mental health skills programme.

We suggest adding the policy to the standard of Teaching which says teachers must: “Teach and respond to learners in a knowledgeable and adaptive way to progress their learning at an appropriate depth and pace.”

We also ask you to add a policy that makes a mental health skills programme compulsory in the New Zealand curriculum. It is to be taught in the Health and Physical Education sector.

We also believe that the government should subsidise the programme training for all teachers.

We suggest that the Ministry of Education approve certain mental health skills training programmes which align with the New Zealand curriculum and schools can then choose which programme they would like to take on board.

Why is this important?

“New Zealand is the undisputed champion at rugby, at sailing and at rowing. We, as a nation, are also champions at letting our young people die.” -

Mental health problems affect 1 in 5 people in their lifetime. 688 people lost their lives to suicide in New Zealand in 2018 and a survey by the Council for Education Research shows 62 per cent of principals are struggling to get help for students with mental health issues -

A study by the Government's chief science adviser Sir Peter Gluckman finds youth suicide is caused more by modern social pressures than mental illness,

We suggest the Pause, Breathe, Smile programme as it is designed in New Zealand and has proven results from three research studies led by both University of Auckland and AUT University. Results showed that participation in Pause, Breathe, Smile:
- Increases calmness
- Improves focus and attention
- Enhances self-awareness
- Helps develop conflict resolution skills and positive relationships
- Reduces stress for teachers
- Leads to statistically significant increases in wellbeing.

We believe that if teachers are able to to create a calm and focused environment which PBS encourages, students will then be able to better progress their learning which will boost their confidence and enjoyment at school.

Nigel Latta, New Zealand Psychologist and supporter of the Pause, Breathe Smile Programme said "Isn’t it time we taught every child in this country, in every part of this country, how to deal with stress and anxiety? How to manage their feelings and emotions? Isn’t it time we taught them fundamentally important, and highly effective skills, for living a less stressful, happier life?" -

For information regarding the connection of the programme to the school curriculum visit:

Our mission is to enable all New Zealand youth to have access to the skills required to maintain overall wellbeing and improve mental health. As it is compulsory for our youth to attend school, we believe that if teachers are qualified to teach these skills we can boost the wellbeing of our nation's young people, ensuring they’re equipped with quality mental health skills to thrive and not just survive the mental health struggles that our society faces today. Moreover, the teachers will be learning these skills too and develop the tools to cope with the demanding and stressful nature of being a school teacher. This will lead to a more productive nation with more people able to work and contribute to our economy as well as reduce the enormous pressure on our health system.

Together we can build a youth with a strong mental backbone. This is so important because as Nelson Mandela once said "the youth of today are the leaders of tomorrow."

Where can I get support and help?
Below is a list of some of the services available which offer support, information and help.
Lifeline 24/7 – 0800 543 354
Kidsline (aimed at children up to 18 years of age, available 24/7) – 0800 54 37 54
Depression Helpline 24/7 - 0800 111 757
Healthline - 0800 611 116
Samaritans - 0800 726 666 (for callers from the Lower North Island, Christchurch and West Coast) or 0800 211 211 / (04) 473 9739 (for callers from all other regions)
Youthline - 0800 376 633, free text 234 or email [email protected]
What's Up (for 5-18 year olds; 1 pm to 11 pm) - 0800 942 8787 - includes The Journal online help service - visit the website, email [email protected] or free text 5626 (emails and text messages will be responded to between 12 noon and 12 midnight).

How it will be delivered

We will submit the petition to the appropriate by email on August 7 at parliament to the Health Committee with representation by MP Matthew Doocey -Spokesperson for Mental Health.


2019-07-31 15:19:16 +1200

100 signatures reached

2019-06-23 10:34:32 +1200

50 signatures reached

2019-06-13 09:15:38 +1200

25 signatures reached

2019-06-12 13:10:21 +1200

10 signatures reached