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Types of treatment

There are different ways to support your mental wellbeing.

Health professionals and support services offer solutions based on your needs. Explore different treatments to see what suits you. It's okay to try different methods or even combine them to find what truly helps.

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Talking therapies

"The group therapy was awesome for the fact that it made me realise, I’m not alone." – Watch Gillian's story

Talking therapies involve discussing your emotions, thoughts and actions with a trained professional. Many professionals offer therapy, including psychologists, counsellors, social workers, nurses and more. They'll recommend strategies, exercises and discussions to help your journey.

How these sessions can help:

  • Offer a safe space to express feelings.
  • Guide you through big feelings and find ways to cope with them.
  • Help you to understand and change your thoughts and behaviours.

Together with your therapist, you'll explore what works for you. Sessions can be individual or group-based depending on what you prefer.

Talking therapies can include counselling and psychotherapy. There are many different methods of doing talking therapy such as cognitive behavioural therapy. Your therapist will help you decide which method will work for you.

Finding the right therapist or programme might take time. It's okay to look for another professional if the current one isn't suiting your needs.

Starting therapy is a big step, and there's no shame in seeking support. You choose the pace, and everything you share will be kept confidential unless there is an immediate risk of danger to you or someone else. When you use a health service in Aotearoa, your privacy is protected by the Code of Health and Disability Services Consumers' Rights.

Usually, a therapy programme includes several sessions, allowing time for reflection and growth. Some people find long-term therapy beneficial, while others might prefer short-term sessions.

Finding a therapist who understands

Listen to their story here

I have been going to anger management therapy, um, and that’s been good. And so she, um, my therapist is … psychologist is a Samoan woman, so she understands the dynamics of big brown Māori or Pasifika families. She knows how they work so you don’t have to explain these things.

Peer support

Peer support is the sharing of experiences to help one another. Trained peer support workers use their personal mental health journeys to assist others facing similar challenges.

"That journey through peer support and being a peer supporter and staying on the phone lines helped me recover" Watch Michelle's story

Some benefits of peer support:

  • Relatability – talking to someone who truly understands.
  • Gaining insights from others' experiences.
  • Realising you're not alone and you can get through tough times.

Peer support can be in person or online. The Citizens Advice Bureau can help you find services in your area.

Indigenous medicine

"I had to first connect with the wairua through karakia, waiata and also regular visits to the awa." Watch Jamie's story

Rongoā Māori is a traditional Māori healing approach that includes herbal remedies, physical therapies and spiritual healing.

Services might include massage, pastoral support, herbal preparations and cultural guidance. Similar practices exist in Pacific cultures.

These methods aim to reconnect you with your roots, family and passions, holistically addressing wellbeing.

You can find a registered rongoā practitioner through ACC here.


If you have tried a few different options and thing’s aren’t getting better, your healthcare professional might suggest medication for depression or anxiety. Medication can ease symptoms but won't change life circumstances affecting your mood. Talking with people you trust or with a health professional about how you’re feeling can help with this.

If you decide to start medication, your healthcare provider should clarify these things:

  • What symptoms it should help with.
  • How long it will take to work.
  • How long you will need to take it.
  • Potential side-effects.
  • How to stop taking it safely.

It's important to be informed and ask questions about prescribed medication. Your healthcare provider can help you decide if the treatment is right for you.

Finding the right medication can take time. It may take a few weeks before you notice a change.

"My doctor diagnosed me at that time with depression and started me on some antidepressants, which took a few weeks to take effect, but they made a huge difference."Watch Debra's story

If side-effects emerge, talk to your doctor. They will support you to lower your dose or change the medication.

If you want to stop medication, talk to your doctor. They will support you to stop gradually under their guidance to ensure your safety. Stopping suddenly can be dangerous to both your physical and mental health. Tell someone you trust that you’re stopping medication so they can look out for you.

Complementary and alternative treatments

Complementary or alternative treatments can be used alongside or as alternatives to medical treatments. While there is a lack of clinical evidence for some of these treatments, many people find them helpful. Some supplements may help improve your mood or sleep. If you are considering supplements, and are taking other medication, ensure you talk to your doctor or pharmacist first, for safety reasons. Some people find treatments like acupuncture, reiki, massage or meditation work well for them.

Healthify has more information about the effectiveness of complementary and alternative treatments.

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