It’s Mental Health Awareness Week, a week when messages of hope and inspiration will flood the airwaves.

Each year in New Zealand, the public health approach to mental health is cause for celebration.  Groups come to together to share ideas, fundraise and in many cases have good fun – I’ve just been looking at the Mad Hatter’s Tea Party that Changing Minds in Auckland is hosting.

However, these messages sharply contrast with the everyday experiences of sadness, disappointment and sheer frustration of many people who are interacting with or working in the mental health system.

Thousands of people recently shared their experiences, hopes and dreams with the Mental Health and Addiction Inquiry panel.  The Inquiry panel has been consistently told that people, and the sector, want them to be courageous, and that we were all in this together.  This is testament to the state of absolute readiness for positive change.

This is not just about the Government, or the Ministry of Health, it’s about the wellbeing of all people.  From our perspective, the next stages are critical including the full and speedy release of the Inquiry report and decisions about which bold actions will be taken first.  The mental health sector is eagerly awaiting the publication of this report.

In the meantime, it’s Mental Health Awareness Week, so ‘let nature in’ and join in with the great range of local and workplace activities and competitions.  Most importantly, start talking about mental wellbeing.

Five Ways to Wellbeing

  • Connect
  • Give (your time, words, presence)
  • Take Notice (remembering the simple things that give you joy)
  • Be Active
  • Keep learning (embracing new experiences)

Author: Marion Blake is chief executive of the Platform Trust, a network of community organisations providing mental health and addiction services across the country.

Mental Health Awareness Week (MHAW), runs from 8–14 October 2018. This year’s theme is Let nature in, strengthen your wellbeing – Mā te taiao kia whakapakari tōu oranga

Where to get help:

If you are worried about your or someone else’s mental health, the best place to get help is your GP or local mental health provider. However, if you or someone else is in danger or endangering others, call police immediately on 111.

Need to talk? Free call or text 1737 any time for support from a trained counsellor.

Or if you need to talk to someone else:

Asian Helpline – 0800 862 342
Lifeline – 0800 543 354
Suicide Crisis Helpline – 0508 828 865 (0508 TAUTOKO)
Youthline – 0800 376 633 or free text 234
Kidsline – 0800 54 37 54 (for under 18s)
What’s Up – 0800 942 8787 (for 5–18-year-olds 1pm–10pm weekdays and 3pm–10pm weekends)
Depression Helpline – 0800 111 757 or free text 4202
Samaritans – 0800 726 666
OUTLine NZ – 0800 688 5463
Healthline – 0800 611 116


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