Studying at a New Zealand school can be a life-changing experience. But it can also bring challenges for international students who are living away from friends and family, learning new ways to study and adapting to a different language and culture.

This resource was created by SIEBA and Education New Zealand to support staff working with international secondary school students who are experiencing mental health issues. It aims to build capability and capacity across the sector, providing best practice guidance to school staff.

You’ll find practical advice on early intervention and referral to professional support services. There is information about mental health conditions, factors that may put international students at risk, and the barriers that may prevent them from seeking support.

The resource also offers guidance on how to help international students access our health system, as well as downloadable resources and links to useful sites. SIEBA maintains a directory of contact information for clinicians and support organisations throughout the country, which you can access on request.

We hope you find this resource useful in supporting students to feel happy, safe and well during their time in New Zealand. You are welcome to share it with your colleagues.

Common Mental Health Conditions

Isolation, loneliness, language barriers, adjusting to a new culture and being away from support networks may put international students at risk of suffering from mental health conditions.


Factors to Consider

Some of the factors to consider are the risks, cultural differences and barriers to seeking help.


How to Help

This page includes how the health system works, what to do in a crisis, being a support person and starting a conversation.



Here you can find PDF’s for download on stress and anxiety, depression and culture shock.


This resource is designed to assist education providers to support international students’ mental health. It in no way fulfils or replaces provider obligations under The Education (Pastoral Care of International Students) Code of Practice 2016 (Amendments 2019). The advice provided is general in nature and should not replace or supersede professional medical advice. SIEBA and ENZ are not liable for any direct or indirect consequences resulting from following the advice in this document. SIEBA and ENZ explicitly disclaim any responsibility for the accuracy, content, or availability of information found on sites that are provided as links from this resource.