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Kiwis encouraged to explore their way to wellbeing


With one month to go and over 4,000 Kiwis signed up to participate in Mental Health Awareness Week (MHAW), the campaign is already its biggest ever in Aotearoa.

MHAW is 23-29 September and New Zealand workplaces, communities, schools and kura are asked to Explore your way to wellbeing – Whāia te ara hauora, Whitiora.

MHF chief executive Shaun Robinson says the week, which has been led by the Mental Health Foundation of New Zealand (MHF) for 26 years, provides an opportunity to take notice of what makes you feel good and do more of that.

“Mental health is a taonga. It’s something we all have and something to look after so we can lead our best and most fulfilling lives. When our personal wellbeing is strong, our whānau, communities and Aotearoa can flourish too,” Mr Robinson says.

Mr Robinson says wellbeing isn’t just for people who have not experienced mental illness – it’s for everyone.

1 in 5 Kiwis experience a mental illness each year. Almost all of these people will recover or live well with the right support.

“Mental Health Awareness Week is an important reminder that we all go through ups and downs in life, and that’s why we need to explore what can help us when we’re feeling good and when we’re not.

“There are many challenges within our mental health system right now and advocating for better for all New Zealanders is a key part of our daily mahi. We acknowledge there’s a lot to do and it is going to take time. Exploring our way to wellbeing is something we can all do right now to make a real difference.”

MHAW in underpinned by Te Whare Tapa Whā, a model that describes health and wellbeing as a wharenui/meeting house with four walls.

The walls are taha hinengaro/mental health, taha wairua/spiritual health, taha tinana/physical health, and taha whanau/family and friends. Connection with the whenua/land forms the foundation of the wharenui.

“While it’s important to have the freedom to find out what makes you feel good, Te Whare Tapa Whā is a great framework for all New Zealanders to explore different ways to wellbeing,” MHF Māori Development Manager Ellen Norman says.

“Identifying all parts of our wairua, whānau, whenua, tinana and hinengaro makes us feels good means we’re prepared to handle the tough times.”

This year’s MHAW activities include competitions and challenges, community and cultural events and activities that align with Te Whare Tapa Whā.

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