This week is Youth Week - eight days of celebrating New Zealand's young people.
At the time of the 2013 census there were 16,683 15 to 24-year-olds living in Northland.
While it can be easy to focus on the negative when it comes to youth in the region, there is plenty to celebrate.
Throughout Youth Week Mikaela Collins has been profiling young people from around the region who are doing incredible things.
Today we share the work students from Ōtamatea High School have been doing to tackle mental health.
Ōtamatea Kaihoe is the name of the health council at Ōtamatea High School.
It refers to the students being the paddlers of their school waka, and their motto is 'we're all in this waka together, without exception'.
It's a fitting name and motto for the group, as its purpose is to reduce the stigma surrounding mental health and provide support for students.
"We want to start that conversation, make mental health not such a scary topic to talk about and also provide support for kids who are maybe struggling or don't really know what mental health is," head girl and health council member Emma Millard said.
The health council was created last year by the Maungaturoto school's head girl of the time Annmarie Holst and her friend Laurinda Bokma.
The school's current deputy head boy, Alex Parr, said Holst and Bokma came up with the idea after seeing other youth-driven suicide prevention groups, like The Raid Movement, and becoming aware of the issue of wellbeing nationally.
"They just wanted to do something about it and help out our community and school. They started it off and joined with a couple more of us, like me and another two students.
"We had a couple of regular meetings with the student counsellor about how we could go about it and what would be the best way, and some strategies we could use to help promote student wellbeing and mental health through the school to make a positive difference to help everyone."
It snowballed from there, Parr said.
This year the council - which has the support of staff at the school - created an Instagram page to put something positive on social media and promote what they are doing.
They've also run Gumboot Friday and Pink Shirt Day and are hoping to open up a classroom at lunchtimes on Mondays and Fridays which can be a safe place students can go.
At the beginning of the year they spent a day watching a live stream of a mental health conference and were able to ask questions, and last year the students participated in the LifeKeepers Suicide Prevention Training which is usually aimed at people aged 18 and over.
"It was a two-hour session going through modules based on suicide prevention and how to talk about it, and what strategies you can use to engage and communicate, and what you should do if someone is feeling suicidal," Parr said.
He said two weeks ago LifeKeepers met with students again to find out how they could make the training more youth friendly.
Parr and Millard said before the establishment of Ōtamatea Kaihoe there weren't any student-focused mental health groups in the school, and they weren't aware of any in the community.
"I think it's good to have counsellors. But sometimes students feel more comfortable speaking student to student. We know the things students struggle with so it's good to have a group that's fully run by students, with teachers' input and guidance, because we're able to connect," Millard said.
Parr said the council's goal is to hold a Hope Walk for mental health awareness at the end of the year.
WHERE TO GET HELP:
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.
OR IF YOU NEED TO TALK TO SOMEONE ELSE:
• 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 email@example.com 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)
• DEPRESSION HELPLINE: 0800 111 757
• SAMARITANS – 0800 726 666.