This Mental Health Awareness Week (MHAW), we’re asking New Zealanders to ‘reconnect with the people and places that lift you up’. Beginning Monday 26 September, thousands of people, organisations, schools and kura are jumping on board to take part in wellbeing activities throughout the week.
Health Minister Andrew Little says following two years of COVID-19 disruptions and now with the easing of restrictions, it’s timely to reconnect to support our mental wellbeing “This year’s theme will resonate deeply with many New Zealanders and it’s a great reminder of the importance of reaching out to those we know and care about. “You often don’t realise what pressures many people are experiencing and what a difference you can make by taking the time to check in, touch base or spend some quality time.”
Mental Health Foundation (MHF) chief executive Shaun Robinson says “The last couple of years have been tough for us all and it’s easy to feel disconnected from the people and places that are important to us. MHAW is a chance for New Zealanders to prioritise their mental health. There’s growing recognition that we need to uplift our mental wellbeing, and that connection is a crucial part of this - the engagement with this year’s theme has been very encouraging”.
“Whether it's reaching out to someone you have lost contact with, visiting a place that's special to you or getting outside in nature, we hope you'll join us this MHAW to reconnect with the people and places that lift you up to enhance your wellbeing - hei pikinga waiora” Mr Robinson says.
It’s not too late to get involved in MHAW. The MHAW 2022 Guide provides daily activities for both adults and tamariki that can be done at school, work or home, inspired by Te Whare Tapa Whā and the Five Ways to Wellbeing, which are simple evidence-based strategies to improve wellbeing. There are plenty of free resources available to download from our website, including our How to have a safe and supportive kōrero resource for anyone looking to have a chat with someone going through a tough time.
For the first time, the Mental Health Foundation is hosting a free webinar during MHAW, on Tuesday 27 September. Experts in the field of mental health, leadership development and workplace wellbeing will discuss the power of reconnection, and how to boost staff wellbeing and resilience in times of change and uncertainty. Tune in to the live stream at 11.am.
“One in five New Zealanders experience a mental illness and/or addiction each year and it’s important to remember that with the right tautoko many people can and do recover. Wellbeing isn’t just for people who have not experienced mental illness – it’s for everyone. MHAW is an opportunity to tune into your mental health and wellbeing, reconnect with the people who lift you up and places that are special to you, and notice how this makes you feel” Mr Robinson says.