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Students will SpeakOut against mental health stigma

Students will SpeakOut against mental health stigma

Press release: SpeakOut NZ

September 17, 2014

Stigma surrounding mental health will be tackled by a new youth-led, non-profit initiative called SpeakOut.

SpeakOut’s goal is to increase awareness of mental wellness, improve youth knowledge of mental health services, and reduce mental health stigma for young people in New Zealand – all on a for-youth-by-youth basis.

New Zealand has one of the highest youth suicide rates in the world that can in part be attributed to stigma towards mental distress. Social stigma acts as a major barrier to youth seeking help.

Five New Zealand secondary schools have been confirmed as participants for the pilot programme.

The in-school programme will introduce Mental Wellness committees into a number of schools. These teams of senior students will receive training over an annual weekend workshop, then carry out a number of mental health promotion campaigns in their school each year.
The pilot workshop will take place at the ASB North Wharf conference centre on September 27-28, and will include self-development for students, leadership training, and cultural training, with the ultimate purpose of improving understanding of mental health and increasing awareness of existing services.
Jimi Hunt, founder of the Live More Awesome charity, has been booked as a keynote speaker.
SpeakOut realises that each school community is different and subsequently will support committees in designing campaigns and in-school programmes that work for them.

“Our team is passionate about improving the mental health and wellbeing of Kiwi secondary school students, and we have a group of young people committed to making this happen,” said SpeakOut spokesperson Harriet Sims.

The executive of SpeakOut is entirely comprised of university students and recent graduates, and the project is being conducted with support from the US Embassy.

SpeakOut is currently exploring funding options, and welcomes contributions via its Givealittle page: www.givealittle.co.nz/cause/SpeakOut

For more information on SpeakOut check out its website: www.SpeakOutNZ.org

ENDS

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