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One year on from the quake: creating a flourishing city

MEDIA RELEASE
21 February 2012
One year on from the quake: creating a flourishing city

Strong emotions will be felt on the first anniversary of Christchurch’s devastating February 22 earthquake, says the Mental Health Foundation, and the impact on the city’s mental health and wellbeing cannot be understated.

The Foundation’s staff in Christchurch, who have all experienced their own personal losses and impact, have worked in partnership with key agencies in Canterbury over the past year to aid recovery for individuals and communities.

“We acknowledge the strong focus on wellbeing that has characterised the recovery efforts so far,” says Judi Clements, chief executive of the Mental Health Foundation. “Going forward, it is important that we hold on to this focus as part of the continuing redevelopment of the city and region.

“The emphasis on flourishing communities should not be seen as an emergency reaction to a crisis, but as a long term goal of the recovery. Christchurch has a unique opportunity to bring sustainable community mental health and wellbeing to the centre of all social and political dialogue, and to create a truly flourishing city for future generations.”

Clements says she is proud of the contribution that Foundation staff in Christchurch have made to recovery efforts.

“We have been able to bring much to the recovery dialogue about the ways that individuals and communities can support their mental health and we believe that these efforts have been instrumental in influencing the thinking at various population levels”

Strong emotions are an important and normal part of the grieving process, and will be felt by those in Canterbury as well as those who have strong connections in the region.
“We would encourage anyone feeling distressed to seek the support of others, either through personal connections or through support agencies,” Judi Clements says. “Over the past year we have strongly promoted five ways to wellbeing that have been shown by research to improve mental health. Two of the most important at this time are connecting with others, and giving, particularly when it comes to your time and sharing stories and experiences.”
The official memorial events will begin with a public service in Latimer Square at 8am, followed by the full Civic Memorial Service in Hagley Park from midday, with two minutes silence observed at 12.51pm. The full service will be broadcast on Canterbury Television – whose building was where the majority of lives were lost - and on Maori TV.
ENDS

IMPORTANT LINKS
Support agencies: http://www.mentalhealth.org.nz/resourcefinder/listings/resource/73/support-groups/#content-222
List of community gatherings: http://www.ccc.govt.nz/homeliving/civildefence/chchearthquake/CommemorativeEvents.aspx
River of Flowers commemorative sites: http://www.healthychristchurch.org.nz/river-of-flowers/map.aspx

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