Last night my Facebook feed quickly cluttered with profile pics of I AM HOPE. Not one to easily jump aboard social media bandwagons I thought I’d let this one slide by as well. And then I looked a little closer.

After mental health advocate Mike King was named the Kiwibank 2019 New Zealander of the Year, Kiwibank has started a Facebook campaign to raise money for his charity.

The #gumbootupnz campaign will see Kiwibank donating one dollar to the Gumboot Friday account for every person who adds the I AM HOPE frame on their profile photo. The Gumboot Friday account will help deliver free counselling for young New Zealanders battling mental health issues.

Kiwibank’s Brand Manager Kim Waghorn said they’ve been blown away by the response so far.

“We were hoping it would reach 20,000 people but we’ve already passed the 21,000 mark! It’s clear this is resonating strongly and something Kiwis really care about.

“Based on the overwhelming response, Kiwibank is committing up to $50,000 towards the cause,” Mrs Waghorn said.

2019 Kiwibank New Zealander of the Year Mike King was “stoked” when Kiwibank said they would donate up to $20,000 if Kiwis used the frame.

“It was beyond what I thought was possible. Now they’ve said they’ll go up to $50,000, well that’s beyond what I hoped for. This is an amazing initiative – come on New Zealand, get behind it.”

Gumboot Friday itself will take place on 5 April.

“Having depression is like walking through mud every day. So on Friday 5 April 2019, we’re asking you to show your support. Put your gumboots on, give a gold coin, and take a walk in their shoes for a just one day,” the I AM HOPE website says.

“It’s a fun way for kiwis to join in the mental health conversation, while raising money to provide FREE and timely counselling for any kid in need.

“All donations are deposited by you into the Kiwibank Gumboot Friday account. The money will then go directly to the registered health professional upon receipt of an invoice to Mike King’s #gumbootupnz fund.

“Last year in NZ 137 young people died by suicide and it is estimated another 3500 attempted to take their own lives. While Government agencies are doing their best some kids are stuck waiting up to six months to receive the counselling they so urgently need.”

I didn’t need much more persuasion to adopt the I AM HOPE profile image. Kudos to Kiwibank for being more than just a naming sponsor for the New Zealander of the Year award. It’s time to follow their lead and get behind this worthy cause – gumboots and all.

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