Social Change

Your knowledge as a young person is valuable. You can be part of making sure young people who’ve experienced mental distress are accepted and included.

Support, acceptance and aroha from friends and whānau give people the opportunity to live their best lives. 

See what the PODers accomplished on our Instagram and Tumblr.

Read more about POD

What is POD?

POD stands for Point of Difference. Young people are a key part of tackling mental illness discrimination, and we supported them to reach their goals.

Through the POD programme, young people developed projects to help end mental illness stigma and discrimination in New Zealand. POD ran a series of workshops that connected young people with experts and mentors in the arts and social change fields, helping make their creative ideas come alive.

He iti te mokoroa nāna te kahikatea i kakati

Even the small can make a significant impact on the big.

How it worked


The programme included two specially designed workshops over approximately six months. Guest speakers shared their knowledge and expertise as well as the latest research on social inclusion and wellbeing, social change innovations, how to run a project, communications and marketing, and fundraising tips. 

Important dates

POD One – closed

POD Two – closed

POD Three – closed


Between workshops, each participant had monthly contact with a POD mentor who acted as a sounding board, over Skype, phone, or face-to-face. POD was made up of other passionate young people, giving support to each other to realise their vision and make a big impact.


The successful POD projects influenced the attitudes and behaviours of people who discriminate and socially exclude young people with mental health issues. Each project aimed to improved specific behaviours and attitudes around mental illness. 

Graduation & launch

At the end of the programme we had a final event which supported the launch of each project. Each POD graduate, received a koha and a certificate to acknowledge their awesomeness!

Need some inspiration?


See what the PODers created on our Instagram and Tumblr.


Marlon (Marley) Richards

Marlon Richards believes his POD project will create a visual presence and showcase that people are much more than just their mental illness. The 23-year-old is building a supportive community on Facebook to celebrate stories of mental illness through art. The community is called ACPmi (Awesome Creative People Living with Mental Illness). Read more



Sarikha Paikea

Sarikha initially intended hosting a large youth event with poetry, painting and dance workshops focusing on mental wellbeing. "The incubator taught me that sometimes less is more, that starting out smaller can actually lead to a bigger impact," she says. So instead she started a youth club in her local Mangawhai community in Northland; a group of 100 young people aged 12–15 years. Read more

sam profile

Sam Orchard

And Sam’s advice for future PODers? “Share as much or as little of yourself as you want to share. I’ve held back on some things because I wasn’t ready to have it out in the open yet. And just always remember why you did something in the first place. Sometimes if people say something mean about my comics, I’m just like: 'well, that story wasn’t for you!'”


Caitlin Smart

Caitlin says her work through POD proves that confronting any mental health issue is nothing to be afraid or ashamed of and that you can live with a mental illness and be successful. “I think it is important that everyone can participate and I personally believe that those who are the most passionate about something were first deeply affected by it,” she says. Read more


Kirsten Wong

Now, for the first time in her life Kirsten is flexing her creative muscle and using her knowledge of Capoeira – a Brazilian martial art she practices – to address mental health discrimination and social exclusion. “Capoeira has a rich history, is of cultural significance, and is a fabulous model for holistic wellbeing and social inclusion,” Kirsten explains. “It is a non-judgemental community and I’ve found many international examples of Capoeira being used to create safe spaces for people. Read more

rachel profile

Rachel Ross

Rachel is a recipient of a 2015 Like Minds, Like Mine creative grant. Her short film is currently in production. The finished footage is being prepared for the film festival circuits and Rachel hopes it will speak to people currently experiencing anxiety, those supporting someone with anxiety, and those who have no knowledge of the topic at all. Read more 


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Contact us

For additional information please contact the POD Team:

09 623 4810