Le Va launches Aunty Dee - free online help for the young

To help fight depression, Le Va has introduced ‘Aunty Dee’, a website that offers free advice for young people of Pacific and Maori descent.


Le Va is a non-government organisation that works across mental health, addictions, public health and disability.

The new website is aimed at Pacific and Maori youths aged 15 to 24. ‘Aunty Dee’ – named so because young people often go to their aunts with their problems – supports young people with problem solving skills, helping them to identify their problem, generate ideas and assist in finding solutions.

Le Va Chief Executive Monique Faleafa says evidence shows that structured problem solving is an effective tool for young people with depression.

"We tested and piloted it with Maori and Pacific young people. We purposely did that because of the concerning high rates of suicide for this group.

"Our anecdotal evidence shows that young people access online help a lot more than ringing an 0800 number. So this way is really easy, non-stigmatising, provides easy access, and is free of charge and anonymous. Those things really count for young people," Faleafa says.

The website’s process takes around 15 minutes, identifying the problem and guiding the person through solutions.

There’s also a page of tips and an option to email the generated plan to yourself once it’s complete.

"The thing which people don't stop and do sometimes is weigh up the pros and cons and think about the consequences of their behaviour, and this website does help people to stop and think," she says.

Faleafa would like to see Aunty Dee in every school and become a part of everyday language.

"If you have a problem go and talk to Aunty Dee. It won't be the holy grail of solving all of life's problems but it's one proven tool to help deal with stressful life experiences."

Visit Aunty Dee today - www.auntydee.co.nz


Also check out Aunty Tala, Tofiga of the Laughing Samoans, introducing Aunty Dee below.