Youth mental health is worsening

He Ako Hiringa
3 April 2023

The Youth19 Rangatahi Smart Survey is a series of health and wellbeing surveys for young people across Aotearoa New Zealand. In the latest survey (2019) 23 per cent of respondents reported significant symptoms of depression – almost twice the 2012 rate. Female, Māori, Pacific and Asian students and those living in socioeconomically deprived neighbourhoods had the highest mental health needs, and disparities have grown.1

Despite talking therapy with a counsellor or psychologist being considered the main treatment for depression in youth and adolescents2, antidepressant use almost doubled in young people between 2019 and 2022. It’s unclear if this was due to growing rates of mental health problems, greater awareness of issues or a lack of access to talking therapies.

Youth mental health resources coming soon to He Ako Hiringa.


  1. Sutcliffe K, Ball J, Clark TC, et al. Rapid and unequal decline in adolescent mental health and well-being 2012–2019: Findings from New Zealand cross-sectional surveys. Australian & New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry. 2023;57(2):264-282.
  2. Taylor D, Barnes TRE, Young AH. The Maudsley Prescribing Guidelines in Psychiatry. John Wiley & Sons, Incorporated, 13th edition, 2018.