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Changing Minds

Changing Minds, 19 January 2018

Applications for New Zealand’s first ever national mental health lived experience leader’s initiative open today (1.30 pm Friday Jan 19.)

Gifted the name Rākau Roroa (Tall Trees) this initiative is open to people from all walks of life across Aotearoa New Zealand that have experienced mental illness or distress.

Delivered by Changing Minds; Rākau Roroa supports other New Zealand initiatives Like Minds, Like Mine and the National Depression Initiative.

Rākau Roroa will train and support a growing network of competent and capable leaders who want to use their personal experience of mental distress and recovery to change the conversation around mental health in New Zealand addressing stigma and discrimination.

Rākau Roroa training will enable people to:
• Be equipped with the tools, skills and messages required to challenge discrimination and social exclusion and encourage help seeking and inclusive behaviours.
• Apply their learning to the communities they already have influence in (through projects and other means in their industry/workplace/culture etc.)
• Have public respect by being credible, authentic and honest about their mental health struggles and strengths.
• Confidently look for opportunities to disclose their lived experience in a way that challenges myths and stereotypes.

Stigma and discrimination is still a major barrier to inclusion for people who experience mental distress. An online survey of over 400 people across New Zealand conducted as part of Rākau Roroa last year found that:

- 76% of respondents felt they had experienced one or more of the following, based on their mental health: discrimination (being treated differently), stigma (negatively judged by yourself or others) and social exclusion (been deliberately left out).
- 70% of respondents said that they felt ready to contribute towards an anti-discrimination initiative for mental health in New Zealand and a further 11% said they would be if they had support to do so.

Expressions of interest are now open for people to join Rākau Roroa to be facilitators, mentors or Tall Trees (newly trained leaders).
For more information and to apply visit

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