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Māori rangatahi empowered to check in on their mental health and wellbeing

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18 October 2021

Online mental wellbeing platform Clearhead has collaborated with youth organisation Mā Te Huruhuru to bring together 40 Māori rangatahi (youth) in South Auckland to learn more about navigating mental health and how to improve their mental wellbeing with Clearhead’s digital tools. The programme also taught participants more about their Māori culture and identity as a protective factor towards a larger goal of suicide prevention.

Clearhead was founded in 2018 by University of Auckland alumni Dr Angela Lim and Michael Connolly (now CEO and CTO respectively). Angela is also an alumna of the Velocity programme run by the University of Auckland Business School’s Centre for Innovation and Entrepreneurship. The Clearhead team now consists of ten people dedicated to making high-quality mental healthcare truly available to anyone, anytime, anywhere.

The partnership between Clearhead and Mā Te Huruhuru was formed when Mahera Maihi, founder of Mā Te Huruhuru, was thinking about how she could prevent the cycle of intergenerational disadvantages, and poor mental health outcomes that she was seeing within her community. She connected with Angela who agreed that there was a natural synergy between the youth group’s work and the start-up’s mission to ensure that personalised mental health support is culturally responsive and accessible to everyone. 

The programme was an opportunity for the team behind Clearhead to learn about the challenges they needed to address in order to deliver culturally relevant mental health support to young people. Angela says, “We found that, compared to the wider population, family relationships play a much larger part of the pressures Māori rangatahi face in balancing their own personal mental health and wellbeing with that of family expectations. The rangatahi we supported came from vulnerable family situations where gangs, drugs, and abuse etc. were a norm in their community, so we had to learn how to support those specific scenarios.” 

The outcome of the programme was 40 rangatahi empowered to look after their mental health and wellbeing, and educated on how to make the most of the free tools available to them through Clearhead. “We had four of the participants tell us that we saved their lives,” says Angela. “Having free access to therapy meant that they were more self-aware about when they were in distress. They learnt how to talk themselves out of completing a suicide attempt and how to reach out to and support peers who may need help.”

There are many steps people can take to look out for their friends and family’s mental health, particularly in times of uncertainty, but “the most important thing you can do is learn how to be more self-aware and build the knowledge and skills to be resilient in an increasingly uncertain and high-pressure environment. Maintaining good support systems is also key in the context of increased social isolation and loneliness that is occurring due to the pandemic,” says Angela.

The collaboration with Mā Te Huruhuru is one of many recent initiatives by Clearhead. They recently partnered with the Health Promotion Agency (Ministry of Health) to release the digital wellbeing website Small Steps. Clearhead is now focused on continuing to develop its platforms and get its wellbeing tools into the hands of as many people as possible.

Where to get help 

Campus Care – A safe, confidential and free service that supports the health, wellbeing and safety of everyone at the University. For any concerns about a student, or if a student needs non-urgent help.

Crisis Support – Information on how to contact various crisis support services external to the University including Lifeline (0800 543 354), Youthline (0800 376 633), and Samaritans (0800 726 666).

University of Auckland wins international award for entrepreneurship education
University of Auckland wins international award for entrepreneurship education

social media

18 October 2021

Online mental wellbeing platform Clearhead has collaborated with youth organisation Mā Te Huruhuru to bring together 40 Māori rangatahi (youth) in South Auckland to learn more about navigating mental health and how to improve their mental wellbeing with Clearhead’s digital tools. The programme also taught participants more about their Māori culture and identity as a protective factor towards a larger goal of suicide prevention.

Clearhead was founded in 2018 by University of Auckland alumni Dr Angela Lim and Michael Connolly (now CEO and CTO respectively). Angela is also an alumna of the Velocity programme run by the University of Auckland Business School’s Centre for Innovation and Entrepreneurship. The Clearhead team now consists of ten people dedicated to making high-quality mental healthcare truly available to anyone, anytime, anywhere.

The partnership between Clearhead and Mā Te Huruhuru was formed when Mahera Maihi, founder of Mā Te Huruhuru, was thinking about how she could prevent the cycle of intergenerational disadvantages, and poor mental health outcomes that she was seeing within her community. She connected with Angela who agreed that there was a natural synergy between the youth group’s work and the start-up’s mission to ensure that personalised mental health support is culturally responsive and accessible to everyone. 

The programme was an opportunity for the team behind Clearhead to learn about the challenges they needed to address in order to deliver culturally relevant mental health support to young people. Angela says, “We found that, compared to the wider population, family relationships play a much larger part of the pressures Māori rangatahi face in balancing their own personal mental health and wellbeing with that of family expectations. The rangatahi we supported came from vulnerable family situations where gangs, drugs, and abuse etc. were a norm in their community, so we had to learn how to support those specific scenarios.” 

The outcome of the programme was 40 rangatahi empowered to look after their mental health and wellbeing, and educated on how to make the most of the free tools available to them through Clearhead. “We had four of the participants tell us that we saved their lives,” says Angela. “Having free access to therapy meant that they were more self-aware about when they were in distress. They learnt how to talk themselves out of completing a suicide attempt and how to reach out to and support peers who may need help.”

There are many steps people can take to look out for their friends and family’s mental health, particularly in times of uncertainty, but “the most important thing you can do is learn how to be more self-aware and build the knowledge and skills to be resilient in an increasingly uncertain and high-pressure environment. Maintaining good support systems is also key in the context of increased social isolation and loneliness that is occurring due to the pandemic,” says Angela.

The collaboration with Mā Te Huruhuru is one of many recent initiatives by Clearhead. They recently partnered with the Health Promotion Agency (Ministry of Health) to release the digital wellbeing website Small Steps. Clearhead is now focused on continuing to develop its platforms and get its wellbeing tools into the hands of as many people as possible.

Where to get help 

Campus Care – A safe, confidential and free service that supports the health, wellbeing and safety of everyone at the University. For any concerns about a student, or if a student needs non-urgent help.

Crisis Support – Information on how to contact various crisis support services external to the University including Lifeline (0800 543 354), Youthline (0800 376 633), and Samaritans (0800 726 666).


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