SPARX is a self-help e-therapy tool that teaches young people the key skills needed to help combat depression and anxiety. It was developed by a team of researchers from the University of Auckland, and has been made available for free online through the Prime Minister’s Youth Mental Health Project.
The tool is available on the SPARX website. As well as the SPARX e-therapy programme, the website also offers a mood quiz to help young people identify depression and information on where to get help.
There is also a free phone helpline to provide support to SPARX users. The helpline 0508 4 SPARX (0508 477 279) or free text 3110 is staffed by trained counsellors 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.
Background to SPARX
We know that young people don’t always want to see a counsellor, therapist or other medical professional. SPARX does not replace counselling or therapy, but provides another tool for professionals that work with young people that are down.
Young people can access, register and start using SPARX independently, anonymously and in their own time, making help available to more people around New Zealand.
SPARX uses proven cognitive behavioural therapy techniques in a youth-friendly game format to teach young people how to cope with negative thoughts and feelings, and think in a more balanced way.