Mental Health Awareness Week gives permission to socialise
Mental Health Awareness Week gives us permission to socialise
Book club at Sonia Gray’s house is a riot of laughter, fresh food, animated conversations and… occasionally books!
Sonia, a Mental Health Foundation Ambassador says the monthly get together with girlfriends is part of her many regular social activities.
Actor, model, television presenter, wife and mother of four-year-old twins, Sonia still finds time for five or more social things a week, which she does to maintain her wellbeing.
She says October’s Mental Health Awareness Week theme, Connect, is an important one as it gives people permission to take more time for themselves… “and the long term effects are not just good for us personally, but for everyone taking part.”
Activities like gatherings at your marae or church, or the gym, and doing things with neighbours and so forth, are all forms of connecting she says, and many have been lost along the way in New Zealand.
She points to New Zealand’s 22nd placing out of 23 in the recent Sovereign Wellbeing Index as “pretty scary”.
“We’re not great at connecting.”
Sonia’s book club has been going for many years and the busy working mothers have collectively had 15 children over that time. They all truly value the interactions and their partners have even started their own blokes’ night out.
As the founder of Sonia’s club, Emma, says: “I started the club when I came back from the UK. I wanted to reconnect with all my mates. I have the date in my diary as I know I wouldn’t see my friends if I didn’t do this.”
Book clubs, or women’s dinners, or even “blokes’ nights out” are easy to set up and manage.
The women take turns to host the evening, which makes things easy on busy families to organise just one event, and then sit back and enjoy 11 more over the course of the year.
Sonia says book club is a safe environment to raise issues, share stories and get advice.
Visit the Mental Health Awareness Week website
for more information on the connect theme, activities to
take part in, events to attend, and much more. The week runs
nationally from 7-13