Celebrating the power of community this Mental Health Awareness Week: 23-29 September 2024

The Mental Health Foundation (the MHF) has revealed the theme for this year’s Mental Health Awareness Week
Found in: News / Campaigns
Date: 1 July 2024

The Mental Health Foundation (the MHF) has revealed the theme for this year’s Mental Health Awareness Week: “Community is.... what we create together.” 

There’s no denying the past few years have been difficult for all of Aotearoa, with many of us going through or recovering from extreme weather events, bearing the brunt of inflation and high cost of living, and feeling our society is becoming more politically divided.  

In the wake of Cyclone Gabrielle, Auckland Anniversary Weekend floods and other North Island weather events, the MHF commissioned wellbeing research through its disaster response and recovery campaign All Sorts. After surveying and talking to over 1,500 people from affected regions, a clear theme emerged: the number one thing helping people get through these challenging times was their community.

“Coming together as one and staying connected to one another are powerful ways to protect our mental health and wellbeing,” MHF chief executive Shaun Robinson says. 

“Being part of a community can provide us with a sense of belonging, purpose and connectedness – all factors that boost wellbeing. The research shows this too – people who reported high levels of life satisfaction and good health had greater social connections than those dissatisfied with life or in poor health*.”  

According to the same research, four out of ten New Zealanders surveyed felt lonely at least some of the time in the past two weeks*. Loneliness is far from being a New Zealand-specific issue – in November 2023, the World Health Organisation (WHO) declared loneliness a global health concern**.  

“Now more than ever, we could all use a reminder to connect with our community, whatever that looks like for us,” Mr Robinson says. 

“Reach out to someone who you know might need a listening ear. Take time to connect with people in your local area. Community is… what we create together.” 

Nāu te rourou, nāku te rourou, ka ora ai te iwi. With your food basket and mine, the people will flourish. 


* - Mental Health Foundation of New Zealand & SIL Research. (2024). 2024 MHF Community Wellbeing Survey: North Island Weather Events/Cyclone Gabrielle focus. Access at: https://allsorts.org.nz/community-wellbeing-research 

** - World Health Organization. (2023). WHO launches commission to foster social connection. Retrieved from: https://www.who.int/news/item/15-11-2023-who-launches-commission-to-foster-social-connection 


To download the full All Sorts research reports, go to: allsorts.org.nz  

To sign up for Mental Health Awareness Week updates, go to: mhaw.nz