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  • Who is behind Like Minds, Like Mine?

    The Ministry of Health and the Health Promotion Agency (HPA) have oversight of the development of the Like Minds, Like Mine programme. HPA is the lead operational agency and is responsible for funding and leadership to support the programme delivery. Programme delivery includes active leadership by people with lived experience of mental illness in partnership with allied organisations, including charitable organisations and trusts, to achieve collective impact for change.

    National coordination and programme communications for the programme is led by the Mental Health Foundation of New Zealand (MHF). The MHF has a long involvement in the programme, providing support for the national activities for the past decade. It has also held contracts to deliver regional activities, and currently holds three Community Partnership Fund contracts.

    For more information on Like Minds, Like Mine, see our About section.

  • What is mental illness and mental distress?

    Mental illness and mental distress are terms that describe a range of mental or emotional symptoms and experiences that are troubling or out of the ordinary. They affect the way a person thinks, acts and feels, and can significantly impact day-to-day living and functioning.

    The way people experience mental illness and mental distress varies widely.

    Mental illnesses, such as bi-polar disorder, depression, schizophrenia. anxiety and eating disorders are based on diagnostic criteria used internationally by mental health professionals, for example the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders and the International Classification of Diseases (see What are the different mental illnesses?)

    Mental distress is a term increasingly used by people to describe the range of their mental and emotional experiences. People who use this term may or may not have received a diagnosis.

  • What is discrimination?

    Discrimination is when someone is treated a certain way because of the group they belong to, rather than on their personal merit.

    Negative discrimination occurs when someone acts or behaves badly toward others based on stereotyped or prejudiced beliefs. Discrimination can occur in many areas, including mental health services, and by friends and families. It can prevent people from having full access to education, employment and housing.

    There are two types of discrimination – direct and indirect.

    1. Direct discrimination occurs when someone is treated differently because of their experience of mental distress. For example, if someone is not given a job because they open up about their experience of mental illness.
    2. Indirect discrimination occurs when a situation designed for one group of people doesn’t cater for another group. For example, a person with agoraphobia who works as a customer services phone operator from their house is now required to work from the company office.

    The consequence of discrimination is that it prevents people from taking part in the opportunities and privileges of daily life available to others. 

    Mental illness discrimination prevents people seeking help, delays treatment, impairs recovery, isolates people, excludes people from day-to-day activities, and stops people getting jobs. It is often linked to other forms of discrimination, such as racism or cultural discrimination.

  • What are some facts and stats on mental health in NZ?

    The Mental Health Foundation has put together some facts and stats on mental health and wellbeing in New Zealand.

  • What causes mental illness?

    There is no one explanation for why people experience mental illness or distress.

    Causes can include:
    • Stress and everyday problems
    • Exposure to severely distressing experiences in the present, or in the past
    • Biology
    • Drugs and alcohol

  • Is mental illness the same as intellectual disability?

    No. Mental illness is different from intellectual disability. Intellectual disability means a significantly reduced ability to understand new or complex information and to learn and apply new skills. It begins before adulthood and results in a reduced ability to cope independently, with a lasting effect on development. (see What is mental illness and mental distress?)

  • Is recovery possible?

    Yes. Most people recover from mental illness and distress. The majority of people return to living and functioning well and do not need specialist mental health service intervention.

    Some people may have a one-off experience with mental distress and recover well with support from their GP, family and friends.

    Others may experience more complex issues and require episodic intensive treatment from specialist mental health services. However, their recovery rates are good.

    Very few people (less than 5%) will experience enduring issues that may require ongoing support or different support to aid recovery.

  • What treatments help people recover?

    Treatment for mental illness and mental distress is not just about medication. There are many other options available. Information on these can be found on the Mental Health Foundation site.

  • What does Like Minds, Like Mine and the logo mean?

    The mathematical symbol in the logo represents “greater than and equal to”. It is used to indicate that those with experience of mental illness are “greater than discrimination and equal to others”.

    The slogan Like Minds, Like Mine is a play on the phrase “we are all of one mind”. It indicates that mental illness can happen to you, me or anyone. The Māori slogan “Whakaitia te Whakawhiu i te Tangata” can be translated as “reduce your potential to discriminate”.

  • How can I find out more about working in the mental health field, including voluntary work?

    Working in the mental health field:

    Te Pou – key organisation for mental health and addictions workforce development, see Supporting the Workforce, and Vacancies.

    Te Rau Matatini – Maori workforce development.

    Le Va – Pasifica workforce development.

    The Werry Centre – workforce development within the child and adolescent mental health sector.

    Auckland Health Jobs

    Kiwi Health Jobs

    Vacancies at the Mental Health Foundation are advertised on our website and on Seek.

    Voluntary work
    We do not have a volunteer programme at the Mental Health Foundation. However, we can suggest some organisations for you to contact:

    Volunteer Now (national)

    Volunteering Auckland (Auckland)

    Seek Volunteer (national)

    Raeburn House Community Volunteer Centre (North Shore or Rodney District of Auckland region) (09) 480 9620 or cvc@raeburnhouse.org.nz

    DoGoodJobs (job seekers website, includes some voluntary roles)

    Community based mental health organisations – browse our online directories to see what organisations are local to you that might seem a good 'fit' for you to approach. 

    Mental health consumer networks – if you have lived experienced of mental illness, consider volunteering as a peer-support worker.

  • How common is mental illness?

    Mental illness is common, one in five New Zealander’s experience some form of mental illness, ranging from mild to severe, in any one year.

    Mental illness or distress is indiscriminate – it can happen to anyone at any time.

    In the overall New Zealand population, 46% of people are predicted to have a mental illness at some time in their lives. The number of people found to experience mental illness is higher for people who are disadvantaged in terms of household income or access to education. Rates of psychological distress are higher in women, younger people, and Māori and Pacific adults.

    People with enduring or chronic physical conditions generally experience a higher rate of mental illness. Experiencing both mental illness and physical disability at the same time more than doubles the overall disability associated with mental illness.

  • Can people who experience mental illness and distress work?

    Yes. Mental illness and distress are common in the working age population and most people continue working without the need for long periods off work.

    Evidence suggests that employment is one of the most important factors in improving inclusion and quality of life for people with experience of mental illness and distress. Employment provides people with opportunities to gain knowledge and skills, feel useful and valued, and be treated as equals. It also motivates, builds confidence, and gives people a sense of doing something meaningful.


    Paid work helps people to improve their quality of life and move towards financial independence.That’s why the Like Minds, Like Mine programme is focused on eliminating workplace discrimination. See Workplaces for more information.

  • What are the different mental illnesses?

    The Mental Health Foundation lists mental illnesses in their A-Z section, including possible causes and signs to look for and treatment.

  • What does someone with mental illness or distress look like?

    People who experience mental illness and distress look just like you and me. One in five New Zealanders experience a mental illness in any one year. It’s indiscriminate and could happen to anyone – you, your family, your friends or workmates. 

  • What is stigma and self-stigma?

    Stigma is like a “mark of shame” that brands those who should be shunned.

    When a person with experience of mental illness is treated differently by others because of negative and stereotyped perceptions of what this experience means, this is because of stigma.

    If an individual with personal experience of mental illness carries these same negative and stereotyped perceptions, they can be described as having self-stigma. This can result in a loss of confidence and self–esteem and people feeling as though they are less valued because of their experience.

  • What’s the difference between stigma and discrimination?

    In simple terms, stigma refers more to a belief about a person or group of people, whereas discrimination relates to actions or behaviour. Discrimination occurs when someone acts or behaves badly toward others based on stereotyped or prejudiced beliefs. (See What is stigma and self-stigma? and What is discrimination?)

    The Like Minds, Like Mine programme prefer to use discrimination not stigma. The term ‘stigma’ in the mental health context infers that the problem lies within the person with mental illness or distress. However, the actual problem is the negative beliefs, attitudes and behaviours of others within society towards those with mental illness or distress.

  • How does discrimination start?

    People develop ideas about what mental illness is and looks like early in their life as part of growing up. They might see or hear things that helps form these ideas. Over time, these ideas may become negative stereotypes which in turn affect how people interact with others. Often these stereotypes are incorrect and harmful.

  • What is social inclusion?

    Social inclusion is the process of improving the ability, opportunity and dignity of people, to take part in society.

    The opposite is social exclusion where individuals or communities are blocked from rights, opportunities and resources (e.g. housing, employment or healthcare) that are normally available to members of society and are key to social integration.

    The outcome of social exclusion is that people are prevented from participating fully in the economic, social and political life of the society they live in. Material deprivation is the most common outcome and causes poverty, emotional and psychological trauma.

  • What is being done to assess the impact of the Like Minds, Like Mine programme?

    The strategic objective of the Like Minds, Like Mine programme is a socially inclusive New Zealand that is free of stigma and discrimination towards people with experience of mental illness and distress. Its intended outcome is that new Zealanders demonstrate respectful attitudes and inclusive behaviours towards people with experience of mental illness and distress.


    A number of research and evaluative activities are being undertaken to continuously reflect upon and measure the impact and effectiveness of the programme.

  • Where does Like Minds, Like Mine get info about mental illness & discrimination in NZ?

    Statistics and facts referenced on the Like Minds, Like Mine website come from a wide range of resources and surveys.

    Some of these include:
    Like Minds, Like Mine National Plan 2014-2019
    New Zealand Health Survey 2012/13
    Phoenix Research 2011
    HPA Health and Lifestyles survey 2014


    For more information on Like Minds, Like Mine research, see the Mental Health Foundations resources page.