Z Zurich Foundation supports a ‘Mitey’ good approach to tackle youth mental health

A collaboration between Z Zurich Foundation, Zurich New Zealand and the Sir John Kirwan Foundation

1 March 2022

AUCKLAND, New Zealand – The Z Zurich Foundation has pledged a two-year grant to improve the mental health and wellbeing of primary and intermediate students through a school based education approach called Mitey. This local grant program will be run in collaboration with Zurich New Zealand and the Sir John Kirwan Foundation

Mitey is being rolled out to schools in Auckland and is set to go nationwide reaching thousands of students and positively impacting the lives of tens of thousands of people (teachers, students and their families).

“The research is clear: if we don’t tackle mental health early, we risk failing the next generation at the start of their lives. Zurich’s support in Mitey is our commitment to promoting wellbeing for primary and intermediate school children at a critical time before entering their teenage years. Our hope is that it will ensure students are equipped with the knowledge and skills needed to recognise and respond to mental health issues both in themselves and others,” said Brett Wainhouse, General Manager, Zurich New Zealand.

Sir John Kirwan says the Z Zurich Foundation pledge will help grow Mitey’s school base across the country and increase the number of coaches who work directly with schools.“Mitey is about inspiring change. It’s about exciting our kids in the way we teach them about their own mental health – and those of others. That’s why the Z Zurich Foundation’s pledge is so important. It will enable us to expand the positive impact Mitey is having to more schools and initiate the change we need in child mental health.”

Mitey takes a school-wide approach to mental health education, bringing teachers, students and communities together around a common goal – mentally thriving children. Each participating school is given a Mitey coach together with access to an online learning platform offering tools and resources. The secret to Mitey’s success is its coaches who are senior trained teachers and work directly in schools. They provide support and professional development to senior leadership teams and teachers setting them up to confidently and sustainably deliver effective mental health education school wide. Educating students in all aspects of mental health lays the foundations for them to nurture their mental health for the rest of their lives.

Mitey has been developed by education specialists at the University of Auckland and co-designed by a range of schools and communities, combining a deep and considered knowledge and understanding of what is required to embed mental health education in New Zealand schools. Mitey is about upskilling an entire teaching workforce so that they can confidently teach mental health education in the classroom in the same way they teach literacy and maths.

“Our global aspiration at the Z Zurich Foundation is to improve mental wellbeing by increasing knowledge, changing attitudes and behaviours, and breaking down stigma. Mitey is aligned to this knowledge and skill-building approach based on prevention. It has the potential to transform the way mental wellbeing is embedded in New Zealand’s education system,” said Barbara Jordan, Z Zurich Foundation Engagement Manager for the Asia Pacific region.



Zurich New Zealand combines global strength with expert local knowledge to help customers understand and protect themselves against risk. Headquartered in the ‘Commercial Bay’ precinct in Auckland, the Zurich New Zealand General Insurance team specialise in Underwriting, Risk Management, Servicing, Technical Support and Claims. We draw on the world’s best insurance minds across our Global Zurich network, where we apply our local knowledge and experience to find the very best insurance solutions for brokers and customers. When you do business with Zurich New Zealand, you are guaranteed to receive direct access to local decision-makers. Zurich’s range of commercial General Insurance products in New Zealand are underwritten by Zurich Australian Insurance Limited ABN 13 000 296 640, a company incorporated in Australia, trading as Zurich New Zealand.


About Z Zurich Foundation
The Z Zurich Foundation works alongside Zurich Insurance Group employees and other stakeholders as well as with governments and NGOs in pursuit of a future where people can thrive in the face of increasing climate hazards, where those of us feeling the stresses of life are empowered to speak up, and where the marginalized in our society can reach their full potential.
The Z Zurich Foundation is a Swiss-based charitable foundation established by members of the Zurich Insurance Group. It is the main vehicle by which Zurich Insurance Group delivers on its global community investment strategy. Visit the Z Zurich Foundation’s website to learn more about its work: https://zurich.foundation. Follow Z Zurich Foundation on LinkedInTwitterFacebookInstagram and YouTube.  

About the Sir John Kirwan Foundation
The Sir John Kirwan Foundation is a registered charitable trust set up by Sir John Kirwan, ex All Black and mental health advocate, in response to the alarming number of children experiencing mental health issues in New Zealand. The Foundation’s purpose is to be transformational by enabling New Zealanders to have the best mental health in the world. Experts believe that embedding mental health education into schools catering to those aged 5 to 13 years, will play a key role in turning NZ’s poor mental health statistics around. Mitey is the Foundation’s sole project and response to the need for change, it is a research driven approach for schools to enable teachers to incorporate mental health education and wellbeing into every school day.