This coming May, Youthline is calling on all New Zealanders to join forces in making a positive impact on the mental health of young people through its annual Walk the Talk 2024 campaign. By participating and fundraising for the Youthline 24/7 Helpline, New Zealanders can ensure that rangatahi have access to crucial mental health support when they need it most.

Youthline invites New Zealanders to Walk the Talk for youth mental health this May and commit just 31 minutes a day to movement or wellbeing activities to match the average 31 minutes that Youthline 24/7 Helpline counsellors spend with a young person on the Helpline.

With youth mental health in a state of crisis, the need to Walk the Talk has never been more urgent. Last year alone, Youthline’s 24/7 Helpline received over 260,000 contacts from young individuals, and of the hundreds of text messages Youthline receives daily, 1 in 3 are related to suicide risk.

Shae Ronald, CEO of Youthline, expresses immense gratitude for the community’s support of the cause. “At the heart of Walk the Talk is critical funding to keep the 24/7 Helpline going. Every donation makes a significant impact on the mental health of our youth, their whānau, and friends,” Ronald emphasises.

“Our goal is to be a beacon of hope for young people struggling with mental health distress. We are thrilled to reintroduce Walk the Talk in 2024, aiming to raise vital funds for our Helpline and make a meaningful difference in the lives of rangatahi facing mental health challenges.”

Youthline has witnessed a doubling in rates of mental distress among young New Zealanders, affecting 1 in 4 youth, with 1 in 10 seeking help from the Helpline, influenced by factors such as social media, climate concerns, economic pressures, and events such as Covid-19.

As principal partner of Youthline, ASB funds the new overnight Helpline service, however, Youthline relies on public donations to operate its daytime Helpline service. Michael Riley, a customer specialist at ASB’s Cambridge and Matamata branches, is taking part in this year’s Walk the Talk. For the first time, Riley openly shares his personal connection with Youthline and explains why he is supporting the Walk the Talk initiative in May.

Riley recounts how his involvement with Youthline began during a tough period in his teenage years, following the sudden loss of his childhood best friend. “In my darkest moments, struggling to make sense of my emotions, reaching out to Youthline provided me with comfort and guidance,” Riley reflects. “Each call brought relief and understanding, empowering me to navigate through my grief.”

Through his interactions with Youthline counsellors, Riley learned valuable coping mechanisms and strategies to cope with his grief. Eventually, he found strength and clarity through breathing exercises and positive thinking, leaning on Youthline during difficult times and moving towards a brighter future.

“Motivated by the support I received, I am dedicated to giving back to Youthline and making a difference for young people facing mental health challenges. By sharing my story for the first time, I hope to inspire others to seek help and support Youthline in assisting young New Zealanders during tough times,” Riley says.

Riley is now standing up to raise awareness and funds for Youthline’s Walk the Talk initiative, with the aim of supporting young individuals dealing with mental health issues.

Several well-known figures, including Randy Sjafrie, Deschanel Toalepai, Cam Mansell, Jase Reeves, Sam Wallace, and Toni Street, are supporting Walk the Talk this May, encouraging New Zealanders to sign up, raise money and get moving for youth mental health.

Participating in Walk the Talk can offer comfort to young people, letting them know they are not alone in their struggles. Whether walking, running, cycling, swimming, dancing, or another wellbeing activity, every minute counts towards supporting young people with their mental health. Creating teams with friends, whānau, or colleagues is also encouraged to collectively support youth mental health and wellbeing.

To get involved, sponsor a friend, team up, or engage your workplace, visit

Shae Ronald, Youthline CEO
Michael Riley
Titihuia Hine Taupe – Walk the Talk Leaderboard Legend