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Second annual Counselling Awareness Week

Second annual Counselling Awareness Week looks to change mindsets


By Kelly Henderson

Talking is better than lashing out in anger.

That is the anthem for the second annual Counselling Awareness Week which takes runs from June 9 to 16.

The awareness week is a Home and Family Counselling initiative to promote an understanding of what counselling can achieve, and to help people to realise getting counselling is okay.

Manju Shelke, from Home and Family Counselling Mount Eden, says counselling has become more of an acceptable practice in recent years, thanks to programmes such as the Ministry of Health’s mental illness advertising campaign.

However, there is still some stigma attached.

“We hope to normalise counselling and help people to choose it as a normal, everyday option,” says Shelke.

“Counselling is not only for people who are mentally ill, but it can be for anyone.”

Teacher’s aide Skye Jennings, 20, who has received counselling in the past, says she thinks the awareness week will be beneficial.

“Hopefully it will help take the stigma off getting counselling, because it’s such a helpful thing that just about anyone can benefit from,” says Jennings.

Encouraged by the success of the initiative last year, many agencies and businesses such as AUT University, the New Zealand Association of Counsellors and the Problem Gambling Foundation of New Zealand have given support to this year’s campaign, giving it a much wider profile.

Agencies and counselling organisations around Auckland will be holding open days and information evenings throughout the week.

There will also be an expo tent in Aotea Square on Friday June 13 manned by counselling students from Weltec.

The week begins with a breakfast launch on June 10 with the Minister of Health, David Cunliffe.

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Kelly Henderson is a Journalism Student at AUT

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