Mental Health Awareness Week (MHAW) starts today and thousands of New Zealanders are celebrating.
“Mental Health Awareness Week is a chance for all Kiwis to consider placing a greater priority on their mental health and look at the tools and opportunities available to ensure their mental wellbeing is the best it can be,” Mental Health Foundation (MHF) chief executive Shaun Robinson says.
MHAW runs until Sunday 14 October and encourages people to Let nature in, strengthen your wellbeing – Mā te taiao, kia whakapakari tōu oranga!
“A record number of people, workplaces, organisations and schools have registered for updates on MHAW this year, and this shows us that New Zealanders really are prioritising their wellbeing. They’re wanting to learn more about how nature can uplift their spirit and are placing their mental health and wellbeing front and centre more regularly,” Mr Robinson says.
“We’ve seen so much enthusiasm already around Aotearoa. From an interactive mural painting in Dunedin, to a kaumātua-led hikoi to the summit of Matukutureia and a nationwide Wellbeing Photo Challenge supported by Nikon and Shakti Mat, people are putting their own spin on how they get out into nature.”
Research shows spending time in nature makes us feel good, decreases feelings of depression and anxiety, improves concentration, buffers against stress, makes lives meaningful, speeds recovery from tough times and reduces health inequalities related to poverty.
The year’s MHAW has woven together the Five Ways to Wellbeing with the nights of the Maramataka/Māori lunar calendar to maximise energy with the natural world and boost wellbeing.
The MHF has partnered with Hāpai Te Hauora to help communities connect with Mātauranga Māori and uplift their wairua through nature.
“Māori creation traditions and whakapapa are core to New Zealand’s strong relationship with nature – and knowing and understanding these relationships strengthens our identity as a nation,” MHF Māori development manager Ellen Norman says.
Community workshops on waka ama, māra kai, Māori movement and the Maramataka are being held in North, South, West and Central Auckland this week.
The week involves events, challenges, resources and workplace activities to help New Zealanders let nature in to strengthen their wellbeing.
To learn more about the week and see what events are happening in your area, visit http://mhaw.nz/whats-on.
For more information, contact:
Senior Communications and Marketing Officer
Mental Health Foundation of New Zealand
020 4138 6371