We provide a safe environment in which guests can seek assistance when they require it, and be linked in to our local partner agencies. We work with our staff and volunteers to ensure that all guests are treated respectfully, and usually find the guest community to be supportive of other guests who might be experiencing mental illness.

There is a range of services available in Wellington from peer support and counseling, to specialists who work with people who are experiencing a mental health crisis. We have staff who are skilled at guiding people to access appropriate services, providing support and recognising the signs of someone becoming unwell.

Mental Health

Mental health issues and addictions are very common, and 47% of New Zealanders will experience mental illness in their lifetime. More will experience stress, grief or loss that will impact their mental wellbeing. Anyone can be affected by mental illness – regardless of age, ethnicity or gender.

A lot of people with mental illness live a fulfilling life – working, participating in their community, sports clubs and being involved with their family or friends. However, other people experiencing mental illness may struggle to get out of the house in the morning or hold down a tenancy, and can find tasks many consider to be easy daunting or scary.

Some people are in very complex situations – experiencing more than one health issue at the same time. For example someone may experience obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) and depression, or an anxiety-related illness and alcohol addiction. People experiencing symptoms of mental illness may sometimes also have an addiction, which has developed over time by self-medicating with drugs or alcohol.

Each person’s experience of mental illness is different. It can be manageable for some, and extremely distressing for others. However most people who have experienced mental illness will recover and the support of family, whanau and friends makes a real difference.


As in all health situations different treatments work for different people. Finding the right combination of treatment can take a little while – medications work well for some people, while talking therapies or exercise are more helpful for others.

Research from both overseas and New Zealand suggests that building the following five actions into day-to-day lives is important for building the wellbeing of individuals, families and communities. You can introduce any of these actions into your life, any time, and you will begin to feel the benefits.


People are stronger when they pull together. Who could you connect with today?


Give something back to your community. Try volunteering, it’s great to get involved and meet other people who share your interests. Volunteer Wellington holds information on hundreds of placements available in our community.

Take notice

Savour the moment. What are the simple things that bring you joy?

Keep learning

Seek out new experiences and challenge yourself. You could visit the Soup Hub, which offers free internet and IT tutoring to the Soup Kitchen community.

Be active

Do what you can, enjoy what you do, be active and move your mood. Many people benefit from ‘green prescriptions’  – offering support with active leisure.

– Adapted from the Mental Health Organisation‘s Five Winning Ways

If you are worried about your own or a loved one’s mental health

You can talk to your GP about concerns around mental health and wellbeing. Most GP practices employ nurses and other mental health practitioners who can offer support and different treatment options. If required, your GP will also refer you or your family member to a specialist mental health service.

Capital & Coast DHB provides a full range of specialist mental health and addiction services, from crisis, acute inpatient care, intensive psychiatric care, services for the elderly, psychology, alcohol and drug and also specialist services for children and young people, including early intervention, personality disorder and maternal mental health.

In Wellington you can refer yourself or a loved one through Te Haika,  Capital and Coast DHB’s Mental Health service. You may be offered a ‘choice appointment’ through the local Community Mental Health Team, or people experiencing a serious mental health crisis and for whom there are urgent safety issues may be seen by the Crisis Assessment and Treatment Team (CATT).

If you would like help or support to access the treatment or service your require, the following services can assist:

  • Aspire Inc provides advocacy and support for people who have, or who have had a mental illness. Level 2, 84 Willis Street, Wellington. Call 04 473 4433
  • Advocacy Network Services are contracted to the Health and Disability Commissioner to discuss your concerns, advocate and offer advice and support. Call 04 389 7701 or 0800 423 638.
  • Warmline is a free peer support helpline for people who are affected by mental illness. Warmline is a special service because it’s run by people who have used mental health services themselves. Call 0800 200 207.
  • Atareira offers support and resources to family members of people with mental illness.

If you are worried about your own or a loved one’s alcohol or drug use

Some people are able to drink alcohol or use recreational or prescription drugs without experiencing negative consequences or addiction. For others, drinking or drug use can cause trouble at work, home, school, managing money and problems with relationships. These issues can lead to people with a drug or alcohol addiction feeling ashamed, scared and hopeless.

There is a wide variety of treatments available to help with drug and alcohol addiction, from counselling and attending support meetings such as Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous, to residential treatment programmes.

Capital & Coast DHB Community Drug and Alcohol Service provides services for people aged 20 years and over, with moderate to severe alcohol and/or drug dependence who also have a coexisting mental illness. Referrals are accepted from GPs, mental health and hospital services, non-government organisations and self-referrals. If you would like further information about the service talk to your GP, a local community mental health team or call the Capital and Coast mental health team on 04 494 9170.

CareNZ is an organisation that also offers a diverse range of programmes, including treatment in some prisons. Young people are offered special services in Wellington, through Welltrust and Evolve.

Help is also available for people who are affected by other people’s addictions. Al-anon is a support group to help families of alcoholics. Learning about addictions, how they develop and why they can have such an impact on people’s lives may also help you deal with the effects of a loved one’s addiction.

National helpline numbers

National Depression Helpline 0800 111 757

The Lowdown text 5626

Problem Gambling Helpline 0800 654 655

Alcoholics Anonymous 0800 229 6757

Alcohol Drug Helpline 0800 787 797

Samaritans 0800 726 666 (free call number for lower North Island)

OUTLine (Confidential and gay-affirming GLBT telephone support and face to face counselling) 0800 688 5463

Chinese Lifeline 0800 888 880

Lifeline New Zealand 0800 543 354

Youthline 0800 376 633, text 234 or email at talk@youthline.co.nz

‘One of the biggest barriers to recovery is discrimination. That’s why stopping discrimination and championing respect, rights and equality for people with mental illness is just as important as providing the best treatments and therapies.’ – Blueprint for Mental Health Services in New Zealand