Central Otago residents are a being challenged to put their best foot forward and walk the talk this month – all in the name of Youthline.

New Zealand has one of the highest rates of youth suicide in the developed world and each day Youthline’s Helpline receives hundreds of text messages from young people seeking help: one in five is related to suicide.

The charity provides crucial counselling support to young people in crisis. It relies on public support for funding.

Puna Rangatahi and the Central Otago Youth Council are asking people to join them for Youthline’s Walk the Talk fundraiser as they move their bodies for 31 minutes a day – the average time a Youthline counsellor spends talking to a young person in need of support.

Youth council member Vanessa Gallagher (17) said Youthline was a valuable service the youth council wanted to support.

“I think we all realise the importance of having a form of support when it comes to our wellbeing . . . [Youthline] is a really useful service and it has helped a lot of people.”

A dancer, Vanessa would be dancing daily as well as attending the gym and walking with fellow Central Otago Youth Council member Hannah Tait.

Hannah planned to swim daily for the challenge.

The group hoped to raise $500.

Puna Rangatahi manager Sharleen Stirling-Lindsay said Youthline plugged a gap in youth mental health services in the region.

“We have a lack of these services here in Central Otago . Youthline Otago are always awesome to deal with,” she said.

Walk the Talk was an opportunity to increase support for young people in the region.

“I just think it’s awesome that this is being done,” she said.

Youthline Otago community education and counselling manager Kara Tarapi said every $51 raised equalled 31 minutes of helpline support for a vulnerable young person.

Want to Walk the Talk?

Join the Puna Rangatahi team moving 31 minutes a day by contacting Sharleen Stirling-Lindsay or give online