Cantabrians Emily Arps and George Gribbin have secret identities. When called on, they voluntarily don large foam-rubber heads and become two of the All Righties.

The All Righty heads are physical representations of the figures the All Right? campaign, a partnership led by the Mental Health Foundation and Canterbury DHB, uses on many of its resources. World famous in Christchurch, they are used at events attended, or run by, All Right? to support and improve Cantabrians mental health and wellbeing.

In their real lives Emily and George are University of Canterbury Masters students, who are passionate about the health and wellbeing of their community.

Emily now works part-time as a health promoter for the All Right? campaign, but it was through George’s volunteer work with Youthline, that they took on their All Righty alter egos.

Faster than a speeding bullet

“The aims of All Right? are closely aligned with our own values and passions,” Emily and George say. “All Right? folk are definitely glass-half-full people, so volunteering for them was a perfect fit.”

The pair admits that wearing the giant heads is a load of fun. “You get to act like a fool without a care in the world, all while brightening someone else’s day,” Emily says.

The All Righties have teamed up with superheroes to visit children in hospital, presented awards at school assemblies and walked around at community events high-fiving people, dancing, posing for photos, giving out compliment stickers and having a laugh.

Benefits outweigh discomfort

The reciprocal benefits of being an All Righty outweigh any discomfort Emily and George experience wearing hot, heavy heads with blurry, narrow vision.

“It makes our day to put a smile on other people’s faces and hear them laugh, which of course, is good for them too!” Emily says.

“Being part of the [earthquake] recovery process is awesome and unique. It is empowering to help out, understand and connect to others in the community,” George adds. “And it gives us a buzz to give back to our community for no monetary return.”

While they enjoy volunteering and get a kick out of taking care of others, they are both aware that self-care is also important. “We know when we need to practice one of the Five Ways to Wellbeing, whether it is being active and going for a walk in the hills, or connecting with friends.”

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