Media Release: Clearhead and Whitecliffe College Collaborate to Prioritise Student Mental Health

After a turbulent 2020, addressing student's mental health in New Zealand is critical for tertiary education providers in 2021.

In response to this, Whitecliffe has launched our new holistic student offering in partnership with Clearhead today, to meet the mental health needs of our students.

Clearhead is an online mental health and wellbeing platform, which includes a private virtual assistant that creates a personalised plan for the student to proactively maintain their wellbeing. As a New Zealand company, Clearhead also provides its platform in te reo Māori, which addresses the rising disparity of mental health outcomes in young Māori.

Whitecliffe CEO, Mark Worsop says, “while the awareness of mental health over the past few years has increased significantly, there is still a long way to go in terms of preventative rather than reactive measures to deal with mental health.”

“There are also generations of people, who believe that seeking therapy is a sign of weakness or they do not recognise symptoms of anxiety, depression, and other mental health-related issues. As a tertiary institution, our role is to develop our students to gain a successful career in their chosen field, and as an organisation, we feel strongly that support for good mental health is a pivotal element to this success. The challenge is how to deal with this at scale, so we are really excited about our new collaboration with Clearhead, which will go some way to addressing this.” Says Mr. Worsop.

Clearhead co-founder and CEO, Dr. Angela Lim says, "Clearhead's partnership with Whitecliffe is unique and a first for tertiary providers to take the extra step with their integrated wellbeing offering for their students.”

“Students across New Zealand were left in a very vulnerable position during the Covid-19 lockdowns, as many experienced financial difficulties, loneliness, and big changes with the shift to remote learning and online exams.”

“We want to help education providers to better support their students as it is apparent that their current mental health services are clearly overwhelmed. Students are asking for on-demand support so they can get the help they need at the time they need it,” says Dr. Lim.

A survey by the New Zealand Union of Students’ Associations, uncovered that some of the most common reasons for students avoiding on-campus mental health services were, long wait times, embarrassment, or out-of-pocket costs. Alongside this, improving counselling and mental health services was by far ranked as the most important action respondents wanted their education providers to act upon.

“Clearhead provides a safe, judgement-free space for students to be able to discuss their struggles with our intelligent chatbot. We found that a lot of young people struggle with face-to-face and over the phone interactions, so they will not seek help because of this. Using Clearhead will feel as though you are speaking with a trusted friend or a trained professional.” Says Dr. Lim.

Once a relationship is established and the chatbot identifies the need for extra support, the student is eligible to access a pool of more than 150 New Zealand registered therapists on Clearhead that they can seek therapy from either in-person or online.

By providing therapy sessions, wellbeing initiatives, and having access to anonymised data analytics, Whitecliffe will be able to better understand the mental health needs of our students and better target the supports we put in place in a more holistic manner.


Contact for media enquiries or interviews
Juanita Prinsloo, Director of Marketing and Communications – Whitecliffe
Phone: 022 324 4263

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