Supporting Tamariki, Rangatahi and Whānau with stress and anxiety.

What is this about?

We know there are lots of children, young people and whānau struggling with stress and anxiety as they navigate uncertainty and changes  due to the COVID-19 pandemic on top of all the usual stressors children and young people experience.

YOU ARE NOT ALONE in experiencing stress or anxiety or supporting a child or young person with these feelings.

It is also important to know, that some anxiety is normal. Children, young people and their families navigate challenges in everyday life all the time, and this has been exacerbated by the pandemic. These are challenging times for lots of people.

But….if these feelings are overwhelming there are some things that might help.

Resources and Supports

First, there are things that can be helpful in managing overwhelming stress and anxiety.

We have identified some resources that are available to support children, young people and whānau, but we know these are often difficult to find and are located in lots of different places. We wanted to make this information easy to find in one place.

These resources are not intended to replace face to face interactions and support from health professionals, counsellors or other help services, but we know that sometimes there can be a long wait to see a health professional. We also acknowledge that you might not be ready to talk to someone in real life yet.

We hope these resources may provide some useful strategies and tips to support you. They will also help you figure out how to get help if you need it.

The resources are presented below, with three sections specific to tamariki (children), rangatahi (young people) and whānau (parents, caregivers and families).

If you are worried, and need help now…

If at any time you are really worried about your own or a child or young person’s mental health, please contact your local GP practice, or one of the following numbers to talk to someone for advice or support.

  • Need to talk? Free call or text 1737 any time to talk to a trained counsellor about anything on your mind.
  • Youthline 0800 376 633 or free text 234 or email or online chat at
  • What’s up? 0800 942 8787 (for 5 to 18 year olds). Phone counselling is available Monday to Friday 1 – 10pm and weekends, 3-10pm. Online chat is available 7-10pm daily and can be accessed via

If you are concerned about someone’s immediate safety…

Contact your local crisis support team – information for local teams can be found using this link:

If you or someone else is in danger or at risk of harming yourself or others, please dial 111 for emergenct services.

What to do if you are worried or scared? (Resources & Information for Tamariki and their whānau)

Supporting children with anxiety and their whānau (KIDSHEALTH)

Videos explaining anxiety and strategies to manage for children and whānau (HEY SIGMUND)

Resources to explain COVID-19 to young children – including resources to support returning to school with information aimed at children using social stories (KIDSHEALTH)

Interactive well-being tools for young children and their parents (NATIONAL ACADEMIES OF SCIENCE, ENGINEERING AND MEDICINE)

Information about mental health for children (HEALTH NAVIGATOR)

The story of the oyster and the butterfly: The coronavirus and me – a video story about worries and feelings associated with COVID. (ANA GOMEX – CHILD PSYCHOTHERAPIST)

Information to help children manage anxious thoughts and worries (HEALTH NAVIGATOR)

How to cope with worry and anxiety during COVID-19 (KIDSHEALTH)

COVID in 2022 – I’m so over Rona – a social story to support children to navigate the current environment (KIDSHEALTH)….%20So%20Over%20the%20Rona%21%204th%20March%20KL.pdf

What to do if I’m freaking out or worried? (Resources and Information for Rangatahi)

Whānaungatanga this resource is for rangatahi Māori (Māori young people) and helps you to understand the things that make you feel strong, connected and happy. Rangatahi told us six key things that help them get through tough times. Figuring out what makes you feel good, can help you figure out ways to lessen the worries that take up too much space in your head. This resource is available in Te Reo Pakeha (English) and Te Reo Māori). Available at

Voices of Hope “My Journey Starts Here” Journal – this is a book that shares stories of other young people who have experienced anxiety and mental health challenges, and provides resources and support to journal and navigate through anxiety and mental health challenges

Whitu: 7 ways in 7 days – an app for young people 16 to 24yrs who are feeling overwhelmed and stressed.
The Whitu app is available on the apple and google play stores or via health navigator:

Apple Store:

Google Play Store:

Health Navigator:

SPARX Interactive game world to help young people who are feeling down

The Village App – supports you to easily and efficiently ask for help from your personal support network and connect to your own personalised virtual community.

Mental wealth programme – learn how to look after your mental health to acheive mental wealth (LeVa)

Interactive wellbeing tools for young people (NATIONAL ACADEMIES OF SCIENCE, ENGINEERING AND MEDICINE).

Aroha Chat Bot for 13 to 24yr olds Aroha guides young people through practical ideas to maintain social connections, stay calm, active and well

Melon – anxiety tool box, which includes a video story about another young person’s, Rangimarie, experience of anxiety.

Aunty Dee Programme – Aunty Dee is a free online tool for anyone who needs help working through a problem or problems – “a problem shared is a problem halved” (LeVa).

LeVa Youth – this page has links to resources and programmes specifically designed to support young people with mental health and navigating the stressors of daily life (LeVa).

Are your children worried and scared? (Resources for Whānau)

Nurturing Whānaungatanga this resource is for whānau Māori, who want to strengthen their rangatahi and tamariki. Figuring out what makes your tamariki feel connected, supported and safe, can help them figure out ways to lessen their worries. Read and do these activities together as a whānau or so that you can understand what rangatahi might need. This resource is available in Te Reo Pakeha (English) and Te Reo Māori. Available at or by clicking the attached images.

Sparklers at home Fun wellbeing activities to support whānau to look after their wellbeing and feel good.

Parenting support during COVID-19 (KIDSHEALTH)

Unite against COVID-19 information for parents and caregivers to support children during the pandemic (Ministry of Health)

Lockdown perceptions in Aotearoa (A graphic novel) Research with children about their lockdown experiences showed that children appreciated the simple things. Children reported being able to slow down, spend time with their families, being active together, spedning time in nature, all helped them during lockdowns. This graphic novel shares some of the research findings and can be a good conversation starter with children about activities that might help them. 

Collaborators and Contributors

These resources have been identified and collated by the following group of health professionals and researchers working across a range of clinical, academic and community organisations that support children and young people across Aotearoa:

School of Nursing Child & Youth Health Network, University of Auckland (Gemma Aburn, Melody Smith, Terryann Clark, Mo Harte, Michelle Adams, Bridget Venning, Kim Ward, Jackie Williams and Victoria Egli)
Hiran Thabrew (Child & Adolescent Psychiatrist, Consult Liaison Team, Starship Child Health; Senior Lecturer – Department of Psychological Medicine, University of Auckland; Director of the Werry Centre for Infant, Child & Adolescent Mental Health)
Denise Kingi-‘Ulu’ave (CEO LeVa – community organisation focused on supporting Pacific families and communities with a range of resources to support whānau mental health and wellbeing
Chris Budd (Clinical Psychologist, Consult Liaison Team, Starship Child Health)
Child & Youth Advisory Group to Ministry of Health COVID response – Jin Russell, Alison Leversha, Pip Anderson and Subha Rajanaidu