Becoming independent

Heading out into the world on your own can be exciting, but it can be unsettling too.

The step into adult life can be incredibly exciting, but it also brings with it a whole range of challenges. The freedom and independence from family (whānau) can feel great, but it can also be really hard. There are lots of decisions to make as you figure out what you want to do with your life. 

Decisions, decisions…

Study… work… money… relationships… partying. There are lots of choices and decisions to be made. You may be thinking about leaving home, your career or whānau life. Maybe you feel pressure to 'make something of yourself' or to be a success. This pressure might be from other people or from within yourself. 

Most people will feel some stress or worry about these things; for others, these added challenges can make life quite hard and contribute to depression or anxiety.


If you can’t find work (mahi) or have lost your job or left education early, it brings all sorts of challenges. The most obvious challenge is having no money. You may feel a sense of failure that can knock your self-esteem. These changes may also mean you’re not in regular contact with other people any more.

It’s not just unemployment which can contribute to depression. Lack of job satisfaction can also play a part. As you’re figuring out what you want to do work wise, or struggling with your work and social life, you might find that you’re not actually enjoying the job you chose.

leaving home is a major change


It’s no secret that both good friends and romantic relationships play a big role in our wellbeing. But as romantic relationships get more serious, they can bring more challenges. An argument with a partner can push all sorts of buttons. The break-up of a relationship will often trigger distress. If you live together, having a good relationship is especially important. If either you or your partner has children, this can also put your relationship under a lot of stress at times. 

 You might also find yourself becoming a young parent, which brings its own set of stresses.

Social Media

Social media can be a great source of information and ideas and help us keep up with our friends and whānau. 

But social media can also keep us from really communicating effectively with other people. It can make us feel bullied or misunderstood and become a source of constant stress and frustration. 

It’s important to make sure that technology is supporting your life and not controlling it. It can be much better to see the people in your lives from time to time. It’s good to find time to talk (kanohi ki te kanohi) with your friends. It makes all the difference when you need their support (tautoko) or want to help them.

What next?

Once you understand what is contributing to the way you feel, you can learn what to do to start feeling better.

How to get better

Other people's stories

I look for positive things

Karakia gave me peace

I got into Waka Ama