Children Understanding Mental Health is:


A free program for children aged 8 to 12 who have a member of their family or whānau experiencing mental health and/or addiction challenges.

An activity based learning program that aims to:

1. Promote knowledge and understanding of mental health and addictions, teach coping skills, enhance the child's own well-being and provide language and information that matches their age and developmental needs.

2. Provide a safe space for children to share their experiences and meet others with similar experiences.

Children coloring
Our Children Understanding Mental Health program covers:
Getting to know each other/why we are here
Talking about mental health and addictions
Learning about feelings
Understanding anger
Managing worries, stress and grief
Mindfulness/coping strategies
Creating a safety plan
Celebration and evaluation
The focus of this program is to:


  • Help children get the answers they need to make sense of their world.

  • Discuss and deal with feelings related to living with mental health or addiction challenges in the family/whānau.

  • Teach children how to get support for themselves and their family/whānau.

  • Understand key messages like 'I am not alone, it is not my fault, I didn't make it happen, I can't catch it, and it's not my job to fix it.'

  • Know that all feelings are okay and to teach strategies to help manage difficult emotions.

  • Help build children's resilience and ability to live well.

Enrolment/Referral Information:

Once we receive your referral, we will make a time to meet with parents/caregivers  to talk about the needs of each child.  We will collect any relevant family information and welcome lots of questions.

Parents and caregivers are invited to attend the last session, which is a celebration of the children's time and learning in the program.

The program is facilitated by two trained staff and weekly contact is maintained with the family/whānau.

For more information contact:

Family/Whānau coordinator

Ph: (04) 499 1049