The Mental Wealth Project

Pasifika wellbeing provider Le Va has launched The Mental Wealth Project for people to learn about their mental health. Using holistic strengths-based approaches, The Mental Wealth Project supports people to learn how to look after their own mental health and that of their friends and family. With face-to-face workshops and a website to complement the workshops, people are supported to create and accumulate ‘Mental Wealth’.



The New Zealand Vodafone Warriors Rugby League club is the latest organisation to work with Le Va to improve wellbeing for young people. Having selected Le Va as a 2019 charity of choice, the Warriors are supporting The Mental Wealth Project for young people and their families.


Along with Le Va, and Auckland Rugby League, Warriors wellbeing staff have been trained in the programme, and are co-delivering it with the Le Va staff to more than 20 rugby league clubs across Auckland, supporting growth in Mental Wealth amongst grassroots players, coaches, support staff and their whānau.


Co-designed by the innovative team at Le Va, The Mental Wealth Project worked with Pasifika and Māori rangatahi, parents, teachers, secondary schools, rugby league clubs, sports coaches, clinicians, mental health organisations, gamers, suicide prevention specialists and cultural knowledge holders, over two years to ensure content is relevant for all Kiwis.


Covering important topics such as anxiety, depression, online bullying, myth busting, and coping, the Mental Wealth website also features live webchat for immediate help, with counsellors available 24/7, providing a safety net and access point for communities.


Chief executive of Le Va Dr Monique Faleafa says The Mental Wealth Project is the ‘go to’ place to learn about your mental health. 


“This mental health literacy programme was designed to meet the needs of young people in the context of their families and communities.


"We deliver it in schools, but we know that sometimes communities of care for young people include sports clubs, churches, and online communities.”



Dr Faleafa adds the programme will be relevant to all sports codes, including e-sports, as mental distress related to social media and gaming becomes more apparent.


“For Generation ‘Screenagers’, the online world and relationships they have with other people in it cannot be separated from the relationships they have with people in the real world,” she says.


“That’s why we’ve ensured The Mental Wealth Project is relevant in cyberspace. We have even worked with international experts to create Mental Wealth resources for the New Zealand gaming community to level up their mental health and get the right support if needed” adds Dr Faleafa.


In collaboration with Netsafe, New Zealand’s telehealth services, Headspace Australia and Riot Games (which produces international gaming hit League of Legends), Le Va also launched Mana Restore, an online website for gamers to go to when their mana is running low.


Resources include fact sheets on healthy gaming and information for parents and whanau, too.


Dr Faleafa emphasises that the highly innovative digital resources are only part of The Mental Wealth Project.


“The face-to-face workshops, often co-facilitated with a person from the community of interest, are key to the behavioural change. Our results show that participants have a better understanding of mental health, can recognise the warning signs of distress, are more confident at checking in on themselves or their mates, and know where to get the right help. If they need it.”


Boosting the mental wealth of participants improves not only their lives, but can be invaluable to those around them. This can only be good for the whole Pasifika community.



This article was first published in issue 73 of SPASIFIK Magazine, for more features, columns, and articles to keep you informed and entertained get the latest issue, out now.