Skylight Trust media release Tuesday 27 September 2016

Denmark picks up NZ resilience programme to help troubled teens

A team from Denmark is in New Zealand this week to learn more about the Skylight Travellers programme that helps young people build resilience and life skills. 

The Travellers programme has been introduced in over 200 New Zealand secondary schools to help students face life and its challenges with confidence and new skills.  The programme has been translated into Danish and used to help individual Danish teenagers for many years. Now, the Director of the Centre for Suicide Research in Denmark, Dr Lilian Zoellner has brought two nurses to New Zealand to learn more, prior to rolling the programme out more widely with Danish 13-18 year olds. 

Dr Zoellner first visited New Zealand in 2001 and has been instrumental in customising the programme for use with vulnerable Danish students having thoughts about suicide, with a focus on migrant students and those with eating disorders.  “The programme is an important part of efforts to reduce youth suicide, by helping young people find their way through tough times,” says Dr Zoellner. 

The nurses here with Dr Zoellner are learning about facilitating the Travellers programme. These nurses currently work with young people in physically, psychologically or sexually abusive relationships, who have been identified as at risk of suicide.  The Travellers programme will be used to try and get them back on track, to build resilience to overcome the issues they are facing and for them to see a positive future.  In New Zealand, Skylight Chief Executive Heather Henare says the programme gives young people an opportunity to safely talk about who they are, things they think and feel, and about ideas they can use to help manage the tough issues in their lives.

Dr Zoellner is also available for some interviews this week, subject to timing.To arrange an interview please contact Heather Henare at Skylight on 0274490885. 

To find out more about the Travellers programme visit 

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