An innovative community organizing campaign to improve mental health and wellbeing among Pacific Island youth in South Auckland, New Zealand

Australas Psychiatry. 2015 Dec;23(6):670-4. doi: 10.1177/1039856215597539. Epub 2015 Jul 29.


Objective: To examine whether being an organizer in a community organizing program improves personal agency and self-reported mental health outcomes among low-income Pacific Island youth in Auckland, New Zealand.

Method: Counties Manukau Health initiated a community organizing campaign led and run by Pacific Island youth. We used interviews, focus groups and pre- and post-campaign surveys to examine changes among 30 youths as a result of the campaign.

Results: Ten youths completed both pre- and post-campaign surveys. Eleven youths participated in focus groups, and four in interviews. Overall, youths reported an increased sense of agency and improvements to their mental health.

Conclusions: Community organizing has potential as a preventive approach to improving mental health and developing agency over health among disempowered populations.

Keywords: Pacific Island; agency; community organizing; mental health; youth.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Community Health Services / standards
  • Community Health Services / trends
  • Female
  • Focus Groups
  • Health Care Surveys
  • Health Services, Indigenous* / standards
  • Health Services, Indigenous* / trends
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mental Health / ethnology*
  • Mental Health Services* / organization & administration
  • Mental Health Services* / trends
  • Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander / psychology*
  • New Zealand / epidemiology
  • Organizational Innovation
  • Poverty / psychology
  • Poverty / statistics & numerical data
  • Quality Improvement
  • Young Adult