Health minister David Clark says we must recognise the importance of New Zealanders connecting and reflecting with whānau, family and friends, ahead of Mental Health Awareness Week (MHAW).
"During Mental Health Awareness Week (8 - 14 October 2018), I'm emphasising how we can all recognise and support mental health. The Government is committed to improving this country's mental health approach, and through this year’s Mental Health Awareness week we can take the opportunity to Let nature in," says David Clark.
"We know connecting with nature makes New Zealanders feel great. Every little bit helps us find balance, build resilience and boost mental wellbeing. It's great to see the Mental Health Foundation leading work around MHAW, with support from other key agencies and well known New Zealanders.
“It’s also fantastic to hear that more than 1900 people have registered their workplace for updates, and over 500 schools from preschools to tertiary institutes have registered and will take part in a range of activities during the week, including community and cultural events and an official MHAW workplace challenge.
"Mental health is a positive resource that needs to be looked after and maintained."
David Clark also recognised the Health Promotion Agency’s new Like Minds, Like Mine campaign which will be prominent over the week.
The new campaign ‘Just Ask. Just Listen.’ targets family, whānau and friends of people experiencing mental distress. The campaign is supported by the Like Minds, Like Mine website where there is deeper content for whānau on understanding mental distress, what to do, and where to go for support.
"Stigma makes it hard to ask for help – many people are worried that sharing their experiences will mean people will see them differently, and might put their relationships, job or even their home at risk. We can all be a part of changing this and making sure people feel valued, accepted and supported.
“More broadly, improving our wider mental health approach is a major priority for this Government. That’s why we launched the independent Inquiry into Mental Health and Addiction as part of our first 100 days programme. I expect it will make robust and even challenging recommendations when it reports back to Government soon," David Clark said.