Challenge 2000 responding to serious at risk youth

challenge 2000

Following widespread community concern about a “cluster” of suicides, Challenge 2000 is actively helping in Porirua City, north of Wellington.

Challenge 2000 is a youth development, community and family social work agency. It works mainly throughout the Wellington region.

Five Porirua youths have died of suspected suicide since February and hundreds of people have turned up to several community meetings, voicing their concerns and looking for solutions that can better support young people.

The “cluster suicides” are having a significant impact on the mental health of the rangatahi (younger generation), says Steve O’Connor, Director of Challenge 2000.

“We are working with the Colleges, community members and whanau to promote positive engagement, offering services and support systems,” he said.

“Our team is committed to ensuring the rangatahi of Porirua can grow and achieve their potential and contribute positively to their community.”

Acknowledging the one-off support offered by Government Agency Oranga Tamariki to provide additional youth programmes, O’Connor said the funding enabled Challenge to initiate and develop a long-term response plan to research the strengths and challenges of the Porirua area.

O’Connor says Challenge identified the holidays as times of high risk for youth and he is grateful to the Capital Coast District Health Board for providing two additional workers to assist with assessments and support of those at risk.

The holiday programmes were well attended and “gave the young people an opportunity to reach out to our team and talk about where they were at and what they needed,” he said.

He says Challenge’s research will identify existing services and their capacity, any critical gaps and inform our recommendations for the future of Porirua.

With strong ties to the Porirua community dating back to 1988, Challenge has social workers and youth workers in four Porirua Colleges.

Where to get help:

Need to Talk? Free call or text 1737 any time to speak to a trained counsellor, for any reason.

  • Lifeline: 0800 543 354 or text HELP to 4357
  • Suicide Crisis Helpline: 0508 828 865 / 0508 TAUTOKO (24/7). This is a service for people who might be thinking about suicide, or those who are concerned about family or friends
  • Depression Helpline: 0800 111 757 (24/7)
  • Samaritans: 0800 726 666 (24/7)
  • Youthline: 0800 376 633 (24/7) or free text 234 (8am-12am), or email
  • What’s Up: online chat (7pm-10pm) or 0800 WHATSUP / 0800 9428 787 children’s helpline (1pm-10pm weekdays, 3pm-10pm weekends)
  • Kidsline (ages 5-18): 0800 543 754 (24/7)
  • Rural Support Trust Helpline: 0800 787 254
  • Healthline: 0800 611 116
  • Rainbow Youth: (09) 376 4155
  • If it is an emergency and you feel you or someone else is at risk, call 111


Additional reading

News category: New Zealand.

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