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Christchurch School Goes Viral

MENTAL HEALTH FOUNDATION

Media Release

Thursday, 25 September 2014

Christchurch School Goes Viral

We’re thrilled to announce that Christchurch’s Hillmorton High School has taken out first prize in the Mental Heath Foundation’s inaugural Words Hurt YouTube Competition.

As part of the competition, school students around the country were challenged to create a YouTube video that took on the discrimination directed at people who are experiencing mental distress – particularly discriminatory language.

Words like ‘retard’, ‘schizo’ and ‘mental’ are commonly used by young New Zealanders. A survey we conducted found that 93% of young Kiwis had heard friends or family use hurtful words about themselves or other people in everyday conversations. The same survey showed that young New Zealanders think the use of such language is hurtful and wrong, and needs to stop.

The Mental Health Foundation believes that young people have the power to influence their peers, and change their behaviour and word choices for the better; in fact, young people can lead the way in creating a New Zealand that is free from stigma and discrimination. With more and more people using video as a way to communicate, YouTube was the perfect platform to start the change we want to see.

Hillmorton’s video entry was praised by judges for “offering a simple solution that everyone can do. It gives a strong statement from black and white to colour as it reflects the loneliness of a girl experiencing bullying”.

MHF Chief Executive Judi Clements was impressed with the winning entry’s focus on solutions to bullying, “The final take-away from the clip is ‘words that hurt can be conquered by words that help’, and this was pleasing to see”, Ms Clements says. “It conveys very strongly that we can all support someone who is being bullied and that bullying is never okay.”

Hillmorton High School receives a cash prize for winning the competition and Auckland’s Mission Heights Junior College and Putaruru College in the Waikato also receive merit awards. The Mental Health Foundation wishes to congratulate these schools, and all of the schools who took part.

All three videos now feature on the MHF’s YouTube page.

ENDS


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