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Cantabrians encouraged to take action for mental wellbeing

Cantabrians encouraged to take action for their mental wellbeing

As we approach the 6th anniversary of the 22 February 2011 earthquake, Cantabrians are reminded to take a moment to think about what they are doing for their mental health.

The All Right? campaign was set up to help people in Greater Christchurch recover from the emotional effects of the earthquakes and related stressors.

Manager Sue Turner says the anniversary is a good time to pause and think about how you, and those around you, are feeling.

“International research shows it can take up to 10 years to recover from the emotional effects of a natural disaster, the stresses that come with it and further blows such as the Port Hills fire can set us back – healing takes time.”

“We will soon release our latest round of research into how Cantabrians are coping but it is evident that many of us are feeling the emotional effects of all we have been through - six years on from the 22 February earthquake.”

Sue Turner says there are always secondary stressors after a disaster that can continue for years – things like roadworks, insurance claim settlements and repair delays.

“These can erode wellbeing overtime though reactions are complex and are different for everyone. The good news is there are things we can do to help us feel and function better – even when we’re stressed.”

International research shows there are a number of simple actions that directly improve people’s wellbeing. The Mental Health Foundation of New Zealand promotes the Five Ways to Wellbeing. They are five things that anyone can do to give themselves a mental health boost.

“These are connecting with other people, taking notice of your life moment to moment, practicing learning and experiencing new things, giving or helping others and being active (as much as you can),” says Sue Turner.

Sue Turner says feeling better helps us cope better with the stress around us so it’s important that people prioritise looking after their mental health.

“There can be a tendency to tie our mental wellbeing to external factors – for example, a belief I will feel better when my house is fixed. While that is something to look forward to, it is not necessarily a panacea for good wellbeing.”

Sue Turner says it’s also important that people seek help if they feel they need it.

“There is free help available – just call the Earthquake Support Line 0800 777 846. After all, ensuring our people recover from the trauma of the earthquakes and related stressors is the most important part of Canterbury’s rebuild.”

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