Cigna Co-Launches Children’s Mental Health Initiative 


Cigna and Life Education launched ‘Small Changes Whānau Challenge’ at schools around the country on 9 May.

The initiative aims to encourage families to spend more time together to support the mental health of 9-12 year-old Kiwi children, in response to alarming results revealed by a Life Education survey.

The 2018 survey of children aged 9-12 found that six out of ten reported they have been bullied, while one in five said they were ‘really sad or stressed about things’ most of the time.

‘Small Changes’ focuses on four key well-being pillars – connecting with each other, moving each day, nourishing your body and appreciating yourself and others. Each pillar is supported by expert advice of the campaign’s ambassadors which include:

  • Avril McDonald (Feel Brave)
  • John Parson (Cyber Resilience)
  • Walter Neilands (Children’s TV Presenter – Sticky TV)
  • Danijela Unkovich (Nutritionist)

It involves a new take-home resource that will support classroom learning, with materials developed to engage the whole family.

The website includes a range of easy-to-do activities, while the pack includes a planner and spinner to help families choose and schedule an activity each day.

Life Education’s educators will visit more than 150 schools across the country throughout term two, and distribute 17,000 activity packs to encourage families to visit the interactive ‘Small Changes’ website

“A promising insight from our survey was that the vast majority of the children said they love spending time with their family,” says Life Education CEO, John O’Connell.

“Research tells us that young people who report caring and supportive family relationships are happier, healthier and get on better in life*.

Cigna New Zealand Chief Marketing Officer, Vince Warnock, says the organisation’s own 360 Well-Being Survey highlights parents’ concerns that the stresses of modern-day life is impacting the amount of time they have to spend with their families.

“Over the last three years we have seen a trend where parents say they don’t feel they spend enough time with their family. By providing fun and easy activities, we hope that ‘Small Changes’ will encourage families to take just 15-30 minutes together each day over next three weeks,” he said.

As an added incentive to get involved, those who take part and register online at can have a chance to win a $2,500 family travel voucher.