Asian Helpline provides nationwide free and confidential services from Monday to Friday between 9am-8pm. Our Helpline is available in ten languages, including Mandarin, Cantonese, Korean, Vietnamese, Thai, Japanese, Hindi, Gujarati, Marathi and English.
Our Asian Helpline helps Asian people in New Zealand to access appropriate counselling support. Our counsellors provide helpful information and services to those who are experiencing gambling harm or COVID-19 related mental distress, such as depression and anxiety.
We receive over 3000 phone calls per year. Most people calls us to enquire about:
Our operators will provide up-to-date information to help all our callers. It is important to note that our Asian Helpline is not a crisis helpline. However, if a caller presents suicidal ideation, our duty counsellors will assess their risk level and provide appropriate interventions accordingly.
2020 COVID-19 National Psychosocial Campaign
Our Asian Helpline has been funded by the Ministry of Health to help our community through the COVID-19 pandemic. We are currently providing the following:
Call our Asian Helpline on 0800 862 342. We are available Monday to Friday between 9am-8pm. We have operators who can speak English, Mandarin, Cantonese, Korean, Vietnamese, Japanese, Thai, Hindi, Gujarati and Marathi.
Chat with one of our professionals for confidential advice and support by phone or online messaging.
Culturally appropriate solutions
These counselling sessions really helped me. I would like to thank Asian Family Services for offering free and professional counselling services that enable us to express our emotional problems in our mother tongue and provide us with culturally appropriate solutions. Thank you.
Unemployment stress alleviated
This year was a grim year for people working in the tourism industry. I was under immense stress and suffered a lot of pain. I turned to AFS for help. After three sessions, I was relieved from the pressure I felt and I gained further insight about my mental health.
Inmate out of gambling addiction
I am still on my medications and reading the book on gambling that you sent me… When I gambled, it would lead me to steal and/or borrow money to support my addiction. I even lied… Your programme was a wake-up call and allowed me to realise the man I can become. I want to have a normal future when I get out… without any stress of gambling. I know I can stop gambling because of your support.
Counselling reduced my anxiety
Counsellor Jiali listened to me very carefully and helped me analyse my situation. Before my sessions, I had really bad mood swings and with her help, I no longer do. She taught me several exercises and breathing methods to better manage my anxiety and improve my quality of life.
AFS is a good old friend
Both you and Asian Family Services seem like good old friends to me. It is always nice to talk with someone like you. I can still remember how desperate and heart-broken I was when I made the first phone call to you. I was very lucky to have made that call… My voice was heard, my pain was felt and shared; the little “I”, the one in pain, was seen.
Counselling reduced my anxiety during COVID
Billy - thanks for your counselling sessions. My anxiety was definitely alleviated. Thanks for the guidance and for helping me to comb through my family issues to find the solution. I know that the lockdown has brought about more mental pressure for many people and would have increased your workload. Please do take care of yourself too. May we all be mentally and physically well.
A gambling client’s voice
Billy is patient and used step-by-step guides to help me understand things that seemed out of control for me…He gave me many examples of how gambling can negatively affect your financial situation and family relationships…He also gave me practical information about how to deal with my financial problems. He helped me decide what actions to take to manage my stress, anxiety and depression.
During the counselling, your attentive listening made me feel warm. When my words and my experiences was listened to and treated seriously, I felt like I mattered and that my issue mattered. You gave me advise carefully, you respected my opinions and you constantly communicated with me. I felt that you cared about my feelings. I felt respected.
Feedback from HomeStay NZ
Thank you so much for seeing XX. He has told us how helpful you have been to him and I was very happy to hear how successful his experience has been. I know that I can rely on AFS in the future if our students need further support.
A Chinese client’s voice
My counsellor's empathy helped me to realise that I am not alone and helped alleviate my loneliness when I faced my mental health issues. During the counselling sessions, he was very patient, listened to my thoughts and used different methods to help me. He would answer all my questions on WeChat and helped me with my anxieties.
Counselling solved our family conflict
Thank you so much for your service. During the sessions, I gradually felt myself growing and learning. My grief, distress and hopelessness are gone and I am happier. With your help and support, our family conflict between my daughter and my son-in-law reduced and my family has regained our happiness. Thank you so much, Counsellor Li!
Accept the imperfect self
I had three sessions with Jiali. The counselling was a great help to me… Through several counselling sessions, I found that I was too much of a perfectionist. I was too strict on myself and did not allow myself to make mistakes. Jiali helped me to accept my imperfect self.
I learned to manage my anger
A three-hour counselling helped me grow inner wisdom. I used to use anger to express my dissatisfaction. I feel abased due to my bad temper. Counsellor Jiali made me realise that my anger was rooted from not being paid attention to when I expressed my thoughts in my childhood. I started to use language to express my thought and communicate with others in a more active way.
Asian Family Services is contracted by the Ministry of Health to provide support for gamblers, family members and other people who are negatively affected by someone else’s problem gambling either in the past or at present. These services include one-on-one counselling services, couple counselling, group counselling and other social work services. These services are free to those who have been affected by gambling harm.
Hope Asian communities will benefit from health overhaul
There is a sense of hope of what the major health sector shakeup will mean for Asian communities. Kelly Feng, national director of AFS: “…Since the Covid outbreak, we see a high demand for Asian communities to access mental health and addiction, and health issues. There is the language barriers, the discrimination on mental health that Asian people feel ashamed to access, but also not knowing the health system as well.” “I do hope the change and the transformation, as our Minster said, will ‘work with the communities’ including the Asian migrants and refugees. I expect more collaboration with Asian mental health NGOs.” Link: https://www.rnz.co.nz/national/programmes/middayreport/audio/2018792640/hope-asian-communities-will-benefit-from-health-overhaul
Concerns over wellbeing of Chinese families separated by border closures on eve of Lunar New Year
It's Lunar New Year's Eve - a night when families typically get together for a 'reunion dinner' to celebrate, but there are concerns about the wellbeing of some families. A mental health helpline for Asians in New Zealand has seen an increase in demand for parenting help. Kelly Feng from Asian Family Services has noticed this need. "People needing more longer support. On average we spend about 40, 45 minutes per call." Link: https://www.newshub.co.nz/home/new-zealand/2021/02/concerns-over-wellbeing-of-chinese-families-separated-by-border-closures-on-eve-of-lunar-new-year.html
Ivan Yeo and Dr Aram Kim interviewed on deteriorating Asian mental health
The Asian Helpline, a telephone counselling service offered in eight languages, recorded a 150 per cent surge in the number of calls from May to July this year. Referrals for non-gambling counselling sessions saw a 138 per cent increase over the same period, says Ivan Yeo, deputy director of Asian Family Services. "There is a strongly held stigma and discrimination against mental health issues across many Asian communities, so people struggle to identify issues that are developing, and get life-changing help early," Dr Aram commented. link：https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=12371297
Asians reluctant to seek help for mental health reach out during pandemic
Deputy director Ivan Yeo said it was concerning to see more diverse distress, mental health and social needs of their clients and discrimination issues in schools and workplaces. AFS has been receiving a higher number of cases involving immigrant Asian women experiencing family violence too. AFS national director Kelly Feng said she was appreciative of a six-month grant from the Ministry of Health which allows them to expand services but more can be done. link: https://www.rnz.co.nz/news/national/417933/asians-reluctant-to-seek-help-for-mental-health-reach-out-during-pandemic
Asian Parents remove the child from school as COVID-19 racism
...the Human Rights Commission has received 252 reports relating to coronavirus. Foon said 86 were considered race-related, with the bulk of those reports geared towards Asian people. Asian Family Services and Netsafe are also gathering data in relation to racist abuse and hate speech. link: https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/121393022/coronavirus-asian-parents-remove-child-from-school-as-covid19-racism-spikes
Survey shows Asian Kiwis suffered high anxiety, depression and racism during lockdown
The New Zealand Asian Mental Health and Well-being report, commissioned by Asian Family Services, found high levels of anxiety and nervousness, as well as racism. The research surveyed 580 Asian New Zealanders across the country and found almost 44 percent experienced some form of mental distress since level 4 lockdown. AFS director Kelly Feng said isolation, lack of support, family issues, academic or work pressure, new migrants adjusting to a new environment can all cause mental stress. links: https://www.rnz.co.nz/news/national/420056/survey-shows-high-anxiety-and-depression-among-asian-kiwis
NZ’s Asian population under-represented in 53rd Parliament
The Asian population is not well represented in the Parliament after last week’s election. About 5% of the 120 MPs are of Asian descent, despite 15% of NZ’s population identifying as Asian in last Census, made up of more than 30 ethnicities. AFS national director Kelly Feng commented, culturally and linguistically appropriate approaches are needed to know better the issues of Asians, and engage with the Asian community. link: https://www.rnz.co.nz/audio/player?audio_id=2018769026#
Big rise in number of Asians seeking mental health help in Auckland
The number of Asians in Auckland seeking help for mental health in the last five years has risen dramatically with one DHB reporting an 82 percent increase in cases. Kelly Feng from Asian Family Services expected the real number of people needing help to be even higher. "We do not really talk about those issues because you feel shame and stigma to talk about - you're going to keep it in the family," she said. link: https://www.rnz.co.nz/news/national/405561/big-rise-in-number-of-asians-seeking-mental-health-help-in-auckland
Urgent action needed to address poor mental health in Asian community
Figures released today show a marked increase in the number of suicides among Asian ethnicities, increasing by 20 deaths in the year to the end of June to a rate of almost 8 suicides per 100,000 people. That's despite an overall decrease in the number of suicides in New Zealand. The National Director of Asian Family Services Kelly Feng said the increase is very concerning, and the government isn't doing enough to address the underlying problems. Link：https://www.rnz.co.nz/national/programmes/middayreport/audio/2018760529/urgent-action-needed-to-address-poor-mental-health-in-asian-community
Experts urge support services for International students
More international students were suicidal or suffered problems including anxiety and drug, alcohol or gambling addiction. AFS Counsellor Shirleen Prasad said the organisation saw 200-300 foreign students last year for a variety of problems including gambling, drug and alcohol addiction and depression. Asian Family Services National Director Kelly Feng said it was getting more referrals from tertiary institutions and more direct contacts from foreign students. link: https://www.indiannewslink.co.nz/experts-urge-support-services-for-international-students-2/
Calls for more Korean mental health resources
Korean mental health workers are calling for more resources in their communities in New Zealand, especially when the cultural norm is to turn to alcohol instead of counseling. There are about 30,000 people from the ethnic group living in New Zealand, and two-thirds of them are in Auckland. Consultant psychiatrist Aram Kim said it was a tight-knit community and that had consequences. Asian Family Services recently released video resources about mental health in Korean. Link：https://www.rnz.co.nz/national/programmes/morningreport/audio/2018720247/calls-for-more-korean-mental-health-resources
Covid 19 coronavirus: Birth in a pandemic - 'When baby cries, I cry too’
The mainstream maternal care and health system can also be a culture shock for first-time mothers. Migrant mums can be encountering midwives and Plunket nurses for the first time, coming with values, practices and expectations that are foreign to their own, says Kelly Feng, director of counselling centre Asian Family Services. "What's considered normal in Kiwi culture can be extremely challenging for migrants," Feng says. link: https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/covid-19-coronavirus-birth-in-a-pandemic-when-baby-cries-i-cry-too/YZS522VPWMC6MZFL3CHVEB7DWA/
Losing loved ones overseas and can't say goodbye: Experts fear mental health fallout
Support services are seeing more people seeking help with grief and loss this year- a 40 per cent increase year-on-year in June alone at the Grief Centre. Experts say bereavement can manifest as symptoms of depression, like loss of appetite, change in sleep patterns, and losing interest in enjoyable things and activities. "You may not fit the diagnostic criteria for depression, but still be significantly affected by grief and loss," said Kelly Feng, director of Asian Family Services. Link: https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/losing-loved-ones-overseas-and-cant-say-goodbye-experts-fear-mental-health-fallout/45NCVV4YGHLPB4L2DV7NQ2XQQY/
Asian Helpline heroes saved lives
A practicing Vietnamese monk, a one-time Korean business man and a former Chinese policeman are at the Asian Family Services office in Grafton…All are qualified counsellors manning the multi-lingual Asian Helpline, a mental health service for Asians in New Zealand that has been running since 1998. Helpline project lead Alex said, language is a significant barrier between ethnic minorities and mainstream support services, so it’s important to use a caller’s first language from the get-go… Counsellor Imsoo Kim says, fear of ostracism by their tight knit communities is top of mind for callers, so privacy is everything. link： https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/helplines-offer-a-refuge-for-migrants-domestic-violence-victims/THFDEX2VEP6LDPPQPBLGSV66S4/
To counter Covid, Government needs a long-term work plan with AFS
The government is still under fire for not reaching all communities with its COVID-19 messaging. Asian Family Services director Kelly Feng: “Since last year’s outbreak, the MoH approached AFS and contracted us to bridge the gap between the government information and the community… We have now get urgent request from regional public health that we start urgent translation…I think it is important that the government develop a long-term partnership with community-based NGOs like us.” Link: https://www.rnz.co.nz/audio/player?audio_id=2018785925
Official COVID-19 advice urgently translated into multiple languages with AFS help
The translated official COVID-19 advice for South-East Asian Communities - some of whom are in the current cluster - are only coming out today on the third day of a week-long lockdown. The Asian Network Inc (TANI) was asked last night to translate the official COVID-19 advice in up to 11 languages. Asian Family Services were also asked to help out on Tuesday. Both organisations said they should be approached before lockdowns were announced so everyone could get the correct information at the same time. Link: https://www.newshub.co.nz/home/new-zealand/2021/03/coronavirus-official-covid-19-advise-translated-into-multiple-languages-after-community-cases-criticised-for-not-following-the-rules.html
Asian Wellbeing Services (AWS) is part of Asian Family Services. Established in 2016, AWS provides professional and confidential psychological interventions and tailor-made psychoeducation and therapy workshops.
We are an experienced team of registered professionals offering a wide range of counselling and psychological services. Our team includes counsellors, art therapists, psychologists, psychotherapists, clinical psychologists and addiction therapist. Our services are culturally appropriate and multi-lingual.
Fees may vary depending on the type of service provided (NZ $120-$180 + GST).
We offer consultations for: cultural adjustment, self-esteem, workplace issues and changes, life transition and personal development, and career planning
We offer counselling for: stress management, anxiety management, anger and conflict issues, family relationships, and couple relationships
Waitemata Local Board Good Citizens' Awards 2019
AFS received the Waitemata Local Board Good Citizens' Awards in 2019
Albert-Eden Board Award
AFS has been acknowledged by the Albert-Eden Board for our outstanding contribution to the Asian community.
Electoral Commission’s acknowledgement to AFS’ contribution
Kia ora koutou katoa On behalf of Asian Family Services and the Electoral Commission, thank you so much for helping us reach and motivate more people to enrol and vote. I wanted to take the opportunity to thank you all for contributing to what was a very successful election. 94.1% of the eligible population are enrolled;This is the highest result since 2008 … Special thanks to Ivan Yeo and Alice Wang for keeping you all well informed and adequately resourced to do a fantastic job. Kindest regards Jon Gabites Project Leader | Electoral Commission