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A Little Chat Can Go A Long Way - Take Time To Kōrero This Mental Health Awareness Week

New Zealanders are embracing this year’s Mental Health Awareness Week (MHAW) and its theme – ‘take time to kōrero’. Beginning on Monday 27 September, over 13,000 people, organisations, schools and kura will jump on board to take part in wellbeing activities throughout the week. Now more than ever, as New Zealanders adapt to changing alert levels, it’s important to connect with others and create space for conversations about mental health and wellbeing.

“All New Zealanders have had a tough couple of months going through lockdowns to fight the spread of COVID-19” says Shaun Robinson, chief executive of the MHF. “Aucklanders in particular have borne the brunt of an extended lockdown period. It’s only inevitable that frustration is setting in as we move in and out of different levels of contact. It’s so helpful to connect with others, have a kōrero and a laugh, whether over the fence, within your whānau bubble or via technology. It’s the little things that we do to support each other that can make a big difference in our lives” Mr Robinson says.

Health Minister Andrew Little, says: “I think the theme of this year’s Mental Health Awareness Week ‘take time to kōrero’ is great. You never know when someone, who is feeling vulnerable, stops to talk, just how much of a difference that can make.”

It’s not too late to get involved in MHAW. The MHAW 2021 Guide provides day by day activities that can be done at school, work or home, inspired by Te Whare Tapa Whā and the Five Ways to Wellbeing, which are simple strategies proven to boost wellbeing. There are plenty more resources available to download from our website, aimed at both tamariki and adults, to help everyone get involved whatever alert level they’re in. For the competitive among us, the social media-based MHAW Challenge kicks off on Monday 27 September - each weekday there will be a daily challenge designed to get people having a kōrero in a different way, with awesome prizes up for grabs.

You can also subscribe to receive email updates to guide you through the week and help you plan your best MHAW yet.

Mr Robinson reminds New Zealanders that your mental health is a taonga and that it needs to be treated like the treasure it is. “It’s important to acknowledge everyone goes through hard times, and sometimes your mental health and wellbeing might not feel as good as you’d like it to. Developing greater understanding of your own mental wellbeing and of others in your life, will help us all through both good and challenging times.”

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