The Journal – Depression Website

( The Associate Minister of Health, the Hon Dr Jonathan Coleman today launched a groundbreaking online self-management programme for New Zealanders experiencing mild to moderate depression.

The Journal is part of phase two of the highly successful National Depression Initiative (NDI) which, since its launch in 2006, has prompted thousands of New Zealanders to get help for their depression. Located on the NDI website,, The Journal teaches people techniques they can easily use in everyday life to help manage their own depression.

Research shows the John Kirwan television campaign has made New Zealanders more aware of the signs and symptoms of depression and their treatment options. It has also encouraged more people to speak openly about the illness and assist friends and family members to get help. 58% of survey respondents had been prompted to take specific action, such as assisting someone else to get professional help for depression, in response to the John Kirwan television ads.

Ministry of Health spokesperson for the NDI, Candace Bagnall says The Journal goes one step further in providing a free-of-charge, user friendly online self help programme, which supports the Government’s approach to providing Better Sooner More Convenient health services.

“Our pre-testing research with 55 participants shows that literally from day one of taking part in The Journal, people with depression were motivated to get into action and started getting results. They really valued being able to access the programme in their own homes, in their own time. Over 80% of those who completed The Journal found it very helpful, and all would recommend it to others. This is a very pleasing result and we will start a robust evaluation later this year to find our how effective it is longer term.

“We are optimistic that this programme is going to have a significant effect on minimising the impact of depression both for the individual and within the wider community.”

The Journal’s content was developed with input from mental health professionals over a two-year period. It includes a range of evidence based techniques people can apply in everyday life, with a focus on structured problem solving. The programme also features text and email messages to act as reminders to participants for continued participation.

John Kirwan fronts the television and online advertising campaign promoting The Journal and is also the coach of the programme.

“John Kirwan is compelling and motivational we are delighted that he was keen to introduce The Journal,” says Candace Bagnall. “From our research we are confident that he will be effective in both attracting people to The Journal and motivating them to stay on the course.”

JK, along with mental health experts Dr Simon Hatcher, Dr Lyndy Matthews and Elliot Bell, take participants step-by- step through The Journal via video clip sessions. Participants watch a lesson and are then encouraged to complete a set task which they can carry out during their daily routine. Topics include staying positive, lifestyle changes including nutrition and physical activity, and creative solutions to problems.

Although a self-management tool for depression which anyone can try, The Journal can also be used to complement treatment plans managed by a GP or mental health professional.

The Journal is backed up by experienced counsellors to ensure participants have access to personalised help if they want it either online or by phone or text. The service offers help with getting through the programme itself and where necessary can support journal users by providing information on treatment options and appropriate local services.

“Our service will work with the caller to identify and implement self help strategies and will also support self care, an important part of mental well being,” says Dylan Norton, Manager of National Depression Initiative services at Lifeline Aotearoa. ”Contact from people experiencing a crisis will also be handled safely by our counsellors with understanding and skill.”

The Journal, an online self-help management programme for mild to moderate depression is located at

Media Release 2 June 2010 from Ministry of Health.
Contact: Candace Bagnall, Ministry of Health
Telephone: (09) 580 9038 or 027 480 7936