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Youth project launches to end mental illness discrimination

15 June 2017

Youth project launches to help end mental illness discrimination in New Zealand

One year after Lucy McSweeney took part in the Mental Health Foundation’s social change programme, POD (Point of Difference), the 21-year-old was standing on the steps of Parliament to present her petition.

“In terms of helping me to form ideas and get into active change and to make the connections I needed to launch my petition, I don’t think anything would’ve happened without POD, which is awesome right, what a testimony,” Lucy says.

The Auckland engineering student’s call to improve mental health education in schools is now backed by more than 9,000 people, that’s just shy of her goal of 10,000 signatures.

Lucy took part in the Mental Health Foundation’s mentored incubator programme, POD, after her own challenges with mental health in high school.

“POD was always a really safe and supportive place and it’s so nice to be with people who have experienced mental health problems, but who are also keen to grow and make a difference.”

The Mental Health Foundation has launched its third round of the programme and is calling on young people, 17-24, to submit their creative social change proposals.

Individual or group projects are welcome and the sky is the limit for application ideas - from visual arts, videos and websites to drama, writing and street performances.

Through mentoring, workshops and industry contacts, POD helps young people to turn ideas into actions and develop leadership skills. It’s also an opportunity to connect with like-minded people.

Applications close on 30 June. To find out more and to apply, visit, or email any questions

POD is supported by Like Minds, Like Mine, a nationwide programme to end mental illness discrimination in New Zealand.


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