Z Zurich Foundation strengthens its support for youth mental health

From

Justin Delaney

The Z Zurich Foundation, has pledged a two-year grant to improve the mental health and wellbeing of New Zealand’s primary and high school students through an education approach called Mitey. This local grant program will be run in collaboration with the Sir John Kirwan Foundation and Zurich New Zealand.

Mitey takes a school-wide approach to mental health education, bringing teachers, students and communities together around a common goal – mentally thriving children. The collaboration further cements Zurich Australia and New Zealand’s commitment to supporting mental wellbeing in the community, not only in terms of raising awareness but also through supporting practical and positive behavioural change.

“With an estimated one in seven adolescents aged between 10 and 19 living with a diagnosed mental illness globally[1], supporting Mitey in New Zealand is one of many important ways that Zurich is living out its commitment to mental wellbeing in the community,” said Justin Delaney, CEO Zurich Australia and New Zealand.

Mitey is being rolled out to schools in Auckland and is set to go nationwide, reaching thousands of students and positively impacting the lives of tens of thousands of people, including teachers, students and their families.

Sir John Kirwan says the Z Zurich Foundation pledge will help grow Mitey’s school base across the country and increase the number of coaches who work directly with schools.

“Mitey is about inspiring change. It’s about exciting our kids in the way we teach them about their own mental health and those of others. That’s why the Z Zurich Foundation’s pledge is so important. It will enable us to expand the positive impact of Mitey to more schools and initiate the change we need in child mental health.”

Zurich Financial Services Australia Head of Brand, Marketing & Corporate Affairs Linda Griffin said the launch of Mitey meant Zurich now had mental wellbeing initiatives across both Australia and New Zealand to support local communities where it conducted business.

“We have a mission to be a champion of mental health and wellbeing in the community. Through initatives like Mitey in New Zealand and Tackle your Feelings in Australia, we are working towards creating a world where every young person is supported to achieve positive mental wellbeing,” Ms Griffin said.

In Australia, Zurich, in collaboration with the Z Zurich Foundation, supports three mental wellbeing programs for youth: Tackle Your Feelings, a national program delivering mental health training at community AFL clubs across Australia; The Raise Foundation, a youth mentoring organisation; and Beyond Empathy, an arts organisation that uses its influence to change and enrich the lives of indigenous youth facing recurring hardships.

In addition, the Z Zurich Foundation launched a global partnership with UNICEF to promote young people’s mental wellbeing. The program aims to benefit more than half a million adolescents and caregivers in seven countries and hopes to reach 30 million people worldwide through a communication campaign.

More about Mitey

Each participating school is given a Mitey coach together with access to an online learning platform offering tools and resources. The secret to Mitey’s success is its coaches who are senior trained teachers and work directly in schools. They provide support and professional development to senior leadership teams and teachers setting them up to confidently and sustainably deliver effective mental health education school wide. Educating students in all aspects of mental health lays the foundations for them to nurture their mental health for the rest of their lives.

Mitey has been developed by education specialists at the University of Auckland and co-designed by a range of schools and communities, combining a deep and considered knowledge and understanding of what is required to embed mental health education in New Zealand schools. Mitey is about upskilling an entire teaching workforce so that they can confidently teach mental health education in the classroom in the same way they teach literacy and maths.

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[1] UNICEF’s “The State of the World’s Children 2021” flagship report – https://www.unicef.org/reports/state-worlds-children-2021

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