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Image: Talking Depression Blues

Media Release 8 October 2001
Talking Depression Blues

Consumer Advisor for the Mental Health Commission, Arana Pearson, will be performing his new song, Talking Depression Blues at Civic Square in Wellington tomorrow as part of Mental Health Awareness Week. Back-up singer Myra MacKay will accompany him.

The theme for the week is work and mental health. Pearson says for people with experience of mental illness, a good working environment is a two-sided thing. “We have to work out what we want and need, and let our employer know. Discrimination against people with mental illness is also two-sided. There’s the attitudes of people we might work for and there’s our own internalised discrimination against ourselves.”

Pearson says his song uses black humour to look at a typical story of what happens to a person when they find themselves being admitted to a psychiatric ward: the attempts to find a sense of hope and recovery.

“The song is modelled on Woody Guthrie’s Talking dustbowl blues, but with a 21st century flavour. It also pays tribute to Don McGlashan’s great 1980s song There is no depression in New Zealand performed by Blam Blam Blam, ” say’s Pearson.

He says that there are too many people with experience of mental illness are not working. People with skills and talents that are wasted and the dignity employment brings is denied to many of us. “I think too often we talk about employment as if being an employee is the only solution, but people also need to look at other options such as starting their own business.”

Pearson said that mental health is a component of everyone’s life, not just people with mental illness. “Every one has difficulties in the workforce from time to time; I’m sure many Air New Zealand staff have had some ‘mental health’ days recently. I wrote the song to help highlight stresses and vulnerabilities of everyone in the workforce, and to give hope to people with mental illness,” he said.


For more information contact Tessa Castree 04 474 8919 or 025 249 2405

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