Northland's future leaders are reaching out to others their age who may not be hearing the advice to talk about depression and suicide.

They also want young people to practice turning negatives into positives — and if they can't say it out loud in public, then at least write it down.

Whangārei Future Leaders group wants young people to head to the Canopy Bridge tomorrow morning, from about 9.30am, to Chalk the Talk, using pavement chalk to write positive quotes and affirming messages.

There might be a few anguished thoughts or artworks put to pavement, too. The main message is don't be afraid to express yourself, while another is don't be afraid to ask for help.


The flipside could be silence and, too often, that deepens the pain.

Jennifer Wordsworth said the group was hoping to reach some young people who don't know how or are often scared to approach, or can't relate to messages coming from institutional sources.

''We think this is a safe and inclusive approach. We've been investigating how we might increase stigma-free engagement with youth spaces, groups and individuals,'' Wordsworth said.

With the topics of young people's mental health and life problems high profile in news and social media, schools, the health sector and other forums, Chalk the Talk offers another chance to make contact and keep up momentum at a youth-led level young people might relate to.

The Whangārei location is apt because as well as it being an open community space the aim is to help bridge a perceived gap.

The event is part of the Future Leaders' nationwide programme, Let's Chalk About Mental Health. #chalkthetalk

If people need to talk to someone:
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