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New Mental Health Initiative Seeks Participants

New Mental Health Initiative Seeks Participants to Share Experiences And Normalise Mental Distress

Rākau Roroa is a new and unique initiative that seeks to train and support people to use their personal lived experience of mental distress to create change in their communities, to reduce discrimination and to normalise the experience of mental distress.

Rākau Roroa will provide participants with the opportunity to learn about wellbeing and mental distress, how it relates to their own experiences and how they can use this information to champion positive mental health messages. They will also be mentored by people who have been selected for their personal experience and expert knowledge of mental health and countering discrimination.

A recent report from the NZ Health Promotion Agency on mental distress in New Zealand found that, “Four in five adults (aged 15 years or more) have experience of mental distress personally or among people they know”, and that “although mental distress is strongly patterned by disadvantage, anyone and everyone can experience distress.”

The report also broadens how we might view mental distress, “concepts of mental distress go beyond standard definitions of depression and anxiety to include feeling isolated, overwhelmed by stress and not able to cope.”

It is the aim of the Rākau Roroa initiative to create a growing network of leaders who can use their personal experience of mental distress to change the conversation around mental health in New Zealand and create environments that support people’s wellbeing.

Rākau Roroa is a free government funded training initiative provided by the New Zealand Health Promotion Agency and delivered by Changing Minds.

Applications are open now for people to take part in the Rākau Roroa training.

For more information and to apply visit

Report from the Health Promotion Agency, 6 March 2018: Wellbeing and Mental Distress in Aotearoa New Zealand: Snapshot 2016.


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