"Aotearoa, it's time to talk."

This is how a group of young New Zealanders begin a video, released online this week, to start a conversation about the country's high rates of depression and youth suicide.

In the video, posted earlier this week on Facebook, the young Kiwis say "there is a lot being left unsaid" and urge the country to open up the conversation about mental health.

Te Mahara Sawnson Hall, one of the teens behind this video, says she decided to create it because, with New Zealand having the worst teen suicide rate in the developed world, it is "time to talk".


Today marks the beginning of Mental Health Awareness Week 2017 in Aotearoa, where we have some of the worst mental health statistics worldwide. When doing this video I never realised how big the issue was and that in a way every single person in this country is dealing with the issues of mental health. Because in this little close knit country everyone either knows someone, is related to someone, has lost someone or is that person dealing with mental health issues. I made this video to spark conversation in a country that needs to know that "it's time to talk". Thank you to everyone who made this video happen, especially Finn Carroll for his incredible editing! ❤️

Posted by Te Mahara Swanson Hall on Monday, 9 October 2017

The whole video took about two weeks to complete, with the editing skills of Hall's good friend Finn Carroll. A total of 17 people participated, all young Kiwis who want to raise awareness of the country's awful statistics in this area.

The video has been viewed more than 100,000 times, which Hall says is a testament of how much the country wants this conversation to happen.

"The amount of views and shares the video has received in a couple of days is really a testimony to the amount of people in this country that are behind the "it's time to talk" message," she told the Herald.

"A few people have been open enough to personally share their stories and some have even asked where they can donate to help with mental health issues in this country," she added.

A number of people left comments on Facebook thanking the young woman for creating the video.

"Thank you and God Bless. My daughter left this earth at 14. And still it's not a top priority in the medical field. I live in a small town and have had two of her friends pass and many other kids in this area," one person commented.

"I don't think there is a family on earth that does not have at least one family member with mental health issues. I have sons. One with schizophrenia and the other with schizoaffective disorder. My heart goes out to anyone struggling and their families," another person said.

With stats showing two teens committing suicide every week in New Zealand, Hall believes there is a lot the Government can do to help.

"I think our schools should have programmes in place so the students can learn about mental health and where to get help if they need," she said.

"I believe that our Government should be putting more funding into the mental healthcare system. I never want to hear that another person has been turned away from getting the help that they need because there is too long a waiting list, not enough beds in a hospital or that the person isn't suicidal enough to be prioritised. Our country is better than that. If the Government put more money in the system I'd like to think more people would be getting the help they need.

"I think New Zealand as a country needs to create a supportive society where young people know it's okay to talk and know that this country will listen to what they have to say. My goal is that New Zealand begins to offer those with mental health issues the support and guidance that they seriously need and through that I hope that youth are reminded that each and every single one of them are important to this country. We lost 606 people to suicide last year, that was 606 too many and it's time to talk about how things have to change."

Where to get help:

Lifeline: 0800 543 354 (available 24/7)
Suicide Crisis Helpline: 0508 828 865 (0508 TAUTOKO) (available 24/7)
Youthline: 0800 376 633
• 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)
Depression helpline: 0800 111 757 (available 24/7)
Rainbow Youth: (09) 376 4155
Samaritans 0800 726 666
• Rural Support Trust: 0800 787 254.
If it is an emergency and you feel like you or someone else is at risk, call 111.