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About The Journal - self-help programme

What is The Journal?

The Journal is a free online programme that will help you learn the skills to reduce depression.  

JK and three of New Zealand’s top mental health experts will take you through a series of online lessons to cover everything you need to know:

  • How to stay positive
  • Lifestyle changes that improve mental health
  • Solving the problems that can cause depression

The Journal has been used by over 40,000 kiwis and has been shown to help people who have mild to moderate depression. It is even used by people with no symptoms to stay well.

How does it work?

You’ll learn each skill in a short online lesson and then JK will work with you to build the practical changes into your weekly routine. Most people do the online learning in about 20 minutes then practice the skills over one week, but you can take as long as you like.

You’ll also get email and text reminders for each lesson and practical task you need to do. The Depression Helpline is available 24/7 if you need any assistance.

The Journal teaches the key skills over six lessons

What do I need?

The Journal is free to use and all you need is access to a computer that can play videos using Flash. If you can’t access The Journal, you’ll find plenty of helpful information in the self-help section of this site.

Will it tell me if I am depressed?

The self-test in The Journal is a good tool to help you identify if you are showing the warning signs of depression and when to get professional help that’s right for you. However, only a doctor or mental health professional can give you a diagnosis. If you are concerned about your self-test results call the Depression Helpline on 0800 111 757 for more information. Or visit your doctor.

How do I sign up for The Journal?

If you go to the homepage JK will get you signed up - starting with a quick self-test. 

The Journal helps you improve your mental health

Can I do it if I don’t have depression?

Anyone can do this programme and benefit from it, but it has been designed mainly for people experiencing mild to moderate depression. It is also likely to be helpful for those who have more severe depression. If you are experiencing more severe depression and are not receiving support from a mental health professional contact the Depression Helpline for more information.

Is there an age restraint on the programme?

The programme teaches skills more suited to adults and for legal and privacy reasons you must be 16 years or over to participate. The Lowdown website is a great place to find support specifically designed for young Kiwis.

How can I help someone using The Journal?

Whilst The Journal is designed for people experiencing depression, you can do a few really simple things to help them stay motivated to get through the programme:

  • Ask what they are doing each week
  • Give them a gentle reminder to do the lesson
  • Help them make some time to do it (they only need about 20 minutes)
  • Ask how it went afterwards
  • You might even be able to help them practise what they learn - they will have some practical tasks to complete

 If you agree to it, they can nominate you to receive messages about what they need to do each lesson. You’ll get copied on the emails (and maybe text messages) they receive from John Kirwan, reminding them when they have scheduled to work on their Journal.

If you don’t want to receive the messages any more you’ll need to ask them to remove your details from their calendar (or the ‘my details’ page).

If you’re concerned about anything they are doing during the programme you can contact The Journal Helpline below.

Getting help with the programme

The Journal Helpline team is a dedicated resource available to give you personal help during the programme. They can be reached free via phone, email and txt to provide you with support and help you with any issues you have with the programme. The team can also follow up on the support they provide and you can arrange a time for them to get in touch with you. Details of your privacy when contacting the Journal Helpline are outlined below.

Follow-up support for The Journal can only be offered within New Zealand. Overseas users should seek help from their usual primary care provider or emergency services.

Our privacy policy

The website will collect a small amount of contact information, in order to send you reminders and create your personal journal. It will also record the tasks and issues you enter into your journal during the programme. This information is held on secure systems.
The Journal Helpline team is available to help you throughout the programme and you can discuss your Journal activity during support calls, but this is entirely at your discretion.  

Terms of contacting the Journal Helpline team 

Collection and release of information

All health information collected via freephone conversations, text and email is used for support purposes. This information is only available to authorised staff at the Journal Helpline. All authorised staff are bound by the Privacy Policy which accords with the Health Information Privacy Code 1994. Health information will only be disclosed in accordance with the code. For more information on the code go to the Privacy Commission website at

The Journal Helpline team does keep and use some information for statistical and reporting purposes to help us provide ongoing and improved services for users. This information is totally anonymous.
Phone numbers and email addresses gathered by the Journal Helpline team will not be used for any promotional reasons. The Depression Helpline team will make sure that any collected personal information is protected from modification, misuse, disclosure, loss and unauthorised access.

Request personal information

Please contact the Journal Helpline if you would like to access a copy of your personal information or believe that the information they have about you is not recent, complete or accurate. Every service user has the right to request the correction of any information which relates to you and is inaccurate and is entitled to a copy of the information.

Want more information?

If you have any thoughts, concerns or questions about the Journal Helpline team Privacy Policy, please contact the Journal Helpline team via email on
0800 111 757

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