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Young people should be seen AND heard!

How do we do it? Your voice matters
Youthline believes in hearing the voices of young people. We want to make sure that those voices are also heard by others. Hearing the voices of young people through research tells us what is happening for young people and lets us know how to help improve young people's experiences of growing up in New Zealand.

  • Youthline works alongside groups of young people that meet regularly, like Youth Advisory Groups and Youth Health Councils 
  • We ask young people about what they think so that a) our services are services young people actually want to use, and b) we know that when Youthline speaks out about something, it reflects the views and voices of young people
  • We spread the voice of young people through media statements and through the youth-led magazine ‘Heyday’, so that they have a voice in what’s going in New Zealand

Find out more about Youth Advisory Groups and Youth Health Councils

Quick links to places on this page:


Youthline's Research

What kind of research does Youthline do?

 Quick links:


Youthline's in-house research

Final Report North Island YoutSexual and Reproductive Health 1     

A North Island Youth Voice on Sexual Health: reporting on youth sexual and reproductive health issues, effective health promotion initiatives, strategies in primary care, and the role of parents/caregivers in promoting good health

This report was contracted by the Ministry of Health to provide “a North Island youth voice on sexual health”. Youth sexual and reproductive health is a key issue for young people in Aotearoa. The ‘North Island Youth Voice on Sexual Health’ project has the overall aim of: promoting responsible sexual and reproductive health behaviour, to minimise unplanned pregnancy and the incidence of sexually transmitted infections including HIV.

Are we doing a good job. Effecveness of one stop youth shops 1     

Are we doing a good job? Providing evidence of the effectiveness of Youth One Stop Shops: the development of self-evaluation capacity and an evaluation framework

The marginalised position of many youth health services and Youth One Stop Shops (YOSS) , that provide essential health and social services to our most in-need young people, makes it imperative that these services gather information about what they do sufficiently well to enable them to demonstrate their effectiveness. The information gathered in this research project was used to develop an effective (easy to collect) evaluation framework fitting best practices for the evaluation of YOSS and using a youth development framework. From these data an evaluation framework was built that established ways to increase the evaluation capacity of these organisations and demonstrate good outcomes for young people using these services.


Young mens sexual and reproductive health report 1     

Consultation with young people on sexual and reproductive health issues for young men

The overall aim of this project is to meet with young people to gather their views on sexual and reproductive issues for young men. This project also aims to evaluate how well current sexual and reproductive health strategies are working for young men. It entails gathering information about the learning processes young men are, or have been, involved in in this area and their knowledge, awareness, use and experience of using sexual health services and educative processes. The project also seeks to gain ideas and explore options for initiatives that can better meet young men’s needs and improve all young people’s sexual and reproductive health.



Counties Manukau Pacific Youth One Stop Shop 1     

Counties Manukau Pacific youth One Stop Shop. A review of research, best practice and youth opinion

This report examines the possibility of using a ‘one stop shop’ approach to improve access to health care for Pacific young people within Counties Manukau. Throughout the process of examining current best evidence, and consultation with Pacific young people and their communities, a great deal of consideration has been given to processes that reflect the importance of youth involvement and Pacific culture.



Effectiveness of Telephone Counselling Services 1     

Evidence of the effectiveness of telephone counselling services

It is valid to question the effectiveness of a phone counselling service in reducing suicide. Quantification of the effectiveness of phone-based counselling is made difficult by the particular nature of these services, which are typically user-driven, confidential, limited in their coverage of time/regionality, and lacking funds for post-service research and assessment.


Family Therapies within the Context of New Zealand 1     

Family therapies within the context of a culturally diverse New Zealand

Corresponding to the evolution of the field of family therapy has been the advancement of culturally sensitive and competent approaches. This paper considers the application of family therapy with the context of New Zealand's cultural diversity, with a focus on the fit with principles of youth development.

Influences on Help Seeking and Participation in Young People 1     

Help-seeking: influences on help-seeking and participation among young New Zealanders

This brief has been written with the intention of examining help-seeking and participation among young people (those aged 12 – 25) with regard to the factors/influences that encourage such behaviours and factors/influences that act as barriers to such behaviours.


On becoming textually active at Youthline New Zealand 1     

On becoming textually active at Youthline, New Zealand

The phones hardly ring at Youthline New Zealand anymore; youth still have problems and seek help, but it mostly happens silently. This article reports on experiences of texting at a 24-hour crisis helpline for young people. To date, there has been no formal evidence base for this practice; however, for new practice, there never is. In prompting discussion, this article attends to the tight constraints that texting imposes, returning to the necessary and sufficient conditions of any effective therapeutic relationship particularly in regard to working with young people. New possibilities are demonstrated with emotional support being demonstrated even in the tightly constrained space of a text-based medium.


Parenting Teenagers 1      

Parenting teenagers. A review of best practice principles in New Zealand parenting programmes

Interest in parenting practices for parents of teenagers is strong; pressures on families are increasing and media are quick to report on issues of delinquency, suggesting a young populace out of control. A range of support services exist for parents, including parenting programmes which offer approaches to commonly experienced problems. Little has been published about parenting programmes in New Zealand. Where research has been carried out, the focus has been parenting young children rather than adolescents. This project seeks to create an understanding of parenting programmes for the parents of teenagers.


Anstiss Davies 2015. ReachThe efficacy of text messaging 1     


‘Reach Out, Rise Up’: The efficacy of text messaging in an intervention package for anxiety and depression severity in young people

Youthline A piloted text message-based intervention package for use by young people to evaluate the potential efficacy of the text package as an intervention for depression and anxiety symptoms. The pilot was successful in significantly reducing participants' anxiety and depression symptom severity. The findings support the potential efficacy of the text package, justify wider trials of the text package, and support the use of text message-based interventions as potentially effective therapies for young people.


Running to America in high heeled shoes 1     

Running to America in high heeled shoes

This paper provides a scoping exercise and ‘snapshot’ of the experiences of youth sex workers living and working in South Auckland. A qualitative, youth development approach was employed to tell the stories of youth sex workers and identify their wellbeing needs, so as to inform further research, development and support programmes and services targeting this marginalised population. A semi-structured interview and focus groups were conducted to examine the wellbeing needs, support networks, perceived service provision and future aspirations of six transgender youth sex workers in the Manukau area.


2014 Youthline. The state of the generation 1     

The state of the generation

A Youthline commissioned, nationwide survey of young people around the biggest issues for young people and their help-seeking behaviours. 

Understanding text messaging as an e therapy 1     

Therapeutic texting

The Counties Manukau District Health Board (CMDHB) has commissioned Youthline to scope and explore the potential development of online electronic and digital therapies, resources and services, particularly the use of texting for young people. This paper will offer a broad discussion on the development of these electronic and digital therapies, as well as provide a case study of the Text 234 counselling service offered by Youthline. Therefore, this paper will present some theoretical, academic and practical information to act as a foundation from which greater discourse and development of electronic therapies can take place.


What would a health service foe Education students look like 1     

What would a health service for alternative education students look like? a review of best practices

The purpose of this project w as to establish w hat might be best practices for a health service suitable for Alternative Education (AE) students and how that service might operate. This was achieved through semi-structured interviews with 17 key informants to identify the theoretical base for the recommended best practices and three focus groups (36 AE students) with young people attending AE services in the Auckland region. A review of both national and international literature of best practices and the current availability of New Zealand youth health services was also completed as part of the project. The Youth Development Strategy Aotearoa (Ministry of Youth Affairs, 2002) was used as a framework for the analysis.


Factors that influence the such driven community initiatives 1     

Which factors influence the success of youth-driven community initiatives? Best practice governance and funding models

As concepts of youth development evolve and develop, we need to ensure that sound models of implementation are concurrently developed if we are to achieve good outcomes for young people and the wider community. In other words, we need to make sure that youth development in practice meets the expectations of theory. The gaps between the theory and real-world outcomes can only be bridged by firstly implementing programmes, and then evaluating and refining them. The lessons learned from a literature base of applied youth development, with an ultimate goal of developing standards of best practice which reliably achieve the best outcomes for young people.


Young mens view on risk taking behaviours 1     

Young men. Research into their view on risk taking behaviours

This is phase two of the Young Men’s Project in which a series of focus groups were undertaken with young men. This phase is intended to link the statistical information of phase one with concrete expressions and perspectives of a cross section of young men.


Mentoring At Risk Youth 1      

Youth mentoring relationships: a youth develop wrap-around approach

Mentoring recognises that a young person’s development can be positively influenced by relationships with those around them, particularly adults that the young person can look up to and learn from. This has occurred informally in communities for generations, and in the continued search for evidence-based approaches to youth development, formal mentoring is an intervention worthy of consideration. The aim of this review is to identify better practice principles for mentoring relationships with at risk youth. To do this the report looks specifically at the mentoring relationship, what happens in this setting and how the relationship can be best supported.


Young peoples experiences of mobile phone text counselling 1     

Young people's experiences of mobile phone text counselling : balancing connection and control

Mobile phone text counselling offers an opportunity to engage young people via a familiar and accessible medium. Interviews conducted with young people highlighted aspects of text counselling they perceived as valuable including privacy and autonomy, having control over the counselling process and maintaining anonymity. Participants appreciated the accessibility of text counselling and felt comfortable communicating through text. Despite the anonymity, they also felt they got to know the counselor as a 'real person' and experienced a relational connection with them. Text counselling may help young people balance their contradictory needs for autonomy and connection and facilitate their engagement with counselling support.

Youth Engagement Report 1    

Youth engagement report

A range of young people from the five Counties Manukau communities of Otara, Mangere, Otahuhu, Manurewa and Papatoetoe were engaged to discuss the nature, design and delivery of youth services. To enable this process, a range of existing groups of young people participated in focus groups and workshops, facilitated by youth development workers. Groups represented a cross-section of the Manukau youth community in terms of locality, age and backgrounds. They identified issues in their communities and the services that existed for them. They then designed ideal services to address these issues. In addition, they identified risk and protective factors in their lives.




Best practice

Youthline keeps up-to-date with cutting edge ways to support young people through best practice papers. These are robust, well researched papers, designed to keep us and our stakeholders up to date with the latest information, research and data on current and topical issues.Youth Development is about having good information, and Youthline, as a youth and community development organisation, must be at the forefront of practice to ensure we are meeting the needs of not only young people, but a dynamic and diverse population.

Advisory processes Anxiety Bullying Depression
Family Work Mentoring Participation Partnering
Postvention PTSD Self harm Sexual Abuse
Substance Abuse Suicide    

Best practice is constantly evolving, and so our papers have a regular review cycle, as well as inform our training, policies and practice with young people and the community. We welcome feedback about these papers, and you can get in touch by emailing


Youthline's Position

As we are often contacted to speak about our position regarding a particular issue, we have prepared some papers that describe Youthline's approach on a range of issues. Youthline responds to media and government statements about young people through positional papers.

Advocacy & Lobbying Alcohol Alcohol reform Career Development
Depression Driving Age Party Pills Youth Sexual and Reproductive Health
Sexual Orientation Suicide Volunteers and Volunteering Youth Health

We welcome feedback about these papers, and you can get in touch by emailing 



Collaborative Projects

From 2008 through 2015, Youthline was involved with an exciting nationwide research project.  The Resilience Research Project was a long-term project comprised of two studies based at Massey University which focus on young people in New Zealand who face significant risks. The studies explore what helps young people thrive and what holds them back. 

The Pathways to Resilience Research Project

This study looks at what services young people in NZ have used and what their experiences have been. Its aim is to identify services and strategies that are successful in assisting young people to achieve positive outcomes in their lives.

The Youth Transitions Research

This was a  3 year longitudinal study that follows youth as they move into adulthood. It explores the strategies they use and their strengths, abilities, plans, relationships and services to help them cope with hard times and to make successful transitions to adulthood.

Approximately 1500 young people nationwide, aged from 12-17 years old were involved in these studies.

The project was part of an international study and works closely with their Canadian counterparts who conceptualised the original Pathways study.  The International Resilience Project (IRP) is a multi-year international research study coordinated through Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada.

Youthline Auckland helped with the data collection for the Auckland region.  Each year we met up with the same young people and asked them about their experiences during that year.  Nearly all of the participants chose to remain involved every year.  In order to achieve these results our team have developed strong relationships not only with the young people and their whanau but also with other community and government organisations.  These networks, along with a team of people passionate about the project and the young people involved have been a key element in those young people choosing to remain involved.   Overall, the partnership with Massey University is extremely positive and we look forward to more successful projects in the future.

 For more information about the project and reports on the findings, check out


External Research

Want to take part in research hosted by other organisations? 

Note: your participation (or non-participation) won't affect your relationship with Youthline!

  • Watch this space!