Depression site for teens launched

An interactive website targeting young people suffering depression was launched in Auckland yesterday.

The Lowdown has been developed and designed in consultation with young people and includes online support services.

Its launch, by Associate Health Minister Jim Anderton, was attended by musicians, sportspeople and television and radio celebrities, who feature on the website.

Mr Anderton said although there had been a 20 per cent reduction in youth suicide in the past five years, younger people had higher rates of depression than the general population and there were still more than 100 young New Zealanders dying from suicide each year.

"The main barrier to getting help is the stigma of depression and mental illness, and the fact that a lot of young people feel that they should be able to manage on their own," he said.

"This new website will make it easier for them to get help without worrying about being stigmatised."

The Lowdown, which targets people in the 13- to 24-year age group, is part of a national public health campaign created to reduce the impact of depression on the lives of New Zealanders, and a component of the Government's approach to suicide prevention.

Mr Anderton paid tribute to the celebrities who had helped create the resource.

"The best way young people can find out about the options to get help is through people they know, trust, admire and identify with," he said.

"When people who are famous for their music or TV stardom talk about their own experiences, they help de-stigmatise depression."

He also praised the health professionals involved.

"This depression campaign is an outstanding example of good work," Mr Anderton said.

- NZPA

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