From Helpful Apps To Mindful Pottery: The Myriad Ways To Mark Mental Health Awareness Week

Mark this year's theme 'Reimagine Wellbeing Together / He Tirohanga Anamata with these helpful suggestions, now and beyond

Huffer's People Presence campaign featuring Maaike Bootsman. Photo / Supplied.

We've all faced some type of challenge in the face of Covid-19 this year, and as we arrive at another Mental Health Awareness Week this week, it's a timely reminder to ensure we're taking care of ourselves and those around us.

The significant work of The Mental Health Foundation highlights the importance of this charity in creating a society free from discrimination, where all people can benefit from better mental health and wellbeing. 

This year's theme of Reimagine Wellbeing Together / He Tirohanga Anamata, prompts us to build on the things we’ve been doing to look after ourselves, and to reimagine wellbeing together – during Covid-19 and beyond.

“We want New Zealanders to reimagine what wellbeing looks and feels like, and believe that wellbeing is possible for everyone,” says MHF chief executive Shaun Robinson.

 “Our new normal is quite different. The way we work, go to school and kura, and connect with friends and whānau have all changed this year – so if you’re feeling off-balance right now, know that it’s completely normal to feel that way.

Mental Health Awareness Week is a timely reminder of how important it is to embrace the simple things we can do each day to really help strengthen our wellbeing – that’s what will help us during the tough times.”

To donate and show your support of the Mental Health Foundation visit Mentalhealth.org.nz.

Here are some other ways to take care and show your support for the cause.

STAY CONNECTED

Local fashion brand Huffer continues its mission to build a network of friends who are connected in their efforts to raise awareness around mental health issues.

As part of its annual People Presence campaign to support the work of the Mental Health Foundation - who have been working with Huffer since 2018 -, this year’s theme of Stay Connected is reflected in a capsule collection of T-shirts featuring specially designed graphics, socks and a reusable coffee cup in the campaign’s signature yellow.

Encouraging people to stay connected and foster a healthy community, $10 of sales from each product sold will be donated to the Mental Health Foundation.

To support the campaign, Huffer has teamed up with a combination of friends and mental health advocates, including singer Teeks, DJ Baz Raghib AKA IllBaz (pictured), model Holly Rose, rugby star Julian Savea, Viva’s Dan Ahwa and more.

READ: How To Meditate

“Huffer’s role is to be an enabler by building the platform and utilising our channels to an engaged community that has been built through a commitment to putting people first with a sense of inclusivity” says Huffer founder Steve Dunstan.

“It’s been a very unusual year,” adds Robyn Shearer, deputy-director general, Mental Health and Addiction at the Ministry of Health. “It’s more important than ever to remind ourselves and each other that there are things we can do every day to look after our mental wellbeing. And taking care of each other and being kind is up there at the top of the list.”

Huffer People Presence capsule collection is available now.

DOWNLOAD AN APP

"With Mental Health Awareness Week, it's a good reminder to check in with our minds - like a spring clean for our mental wellbeing. Smiling Mind is a mindfulness app with a range of programmes and meditations that cater to different needs. The practices range from short, one-minute body scans, to guided sleep tracks and unguided longer meditations."

"There are programmes designed to help you develop a routine if you've never tried mindfulness before, meditations to listen to while commuting to and from work, programmes to enhance relationships, a series for children of different age groups, and even a programme for sports training to get into the right headspace. Bonus points for the nice, soothing Australian male voice behind all the meditations." - Juliette Sivertsen, Viva writer.

READ: Juliette Explores Five Things We're Getting Wrong When It Comes To Mindfulness

Thinkladder is another app designed to promote mental wellness and self-awareness. With thousands of users around the world, the app offers daily mantras and will be making its way around Auckland in a retro car where people are invited to jump in the back seat and spend ten minutes of their day to read some positive mantras and share this with people around the world.

CONVERSATE

"I've been actively making mental health a point of discussion this year, whether it's being more open about how I'm feeling, checking in with friends who are going through stuff, or simply normalising the topics of anxiety, fear and depression within everyday conversations - it's okay to not feel okay!" - Emma Gleason, Viva writer / commercial editor.

BE INSPIRED

Föenander Galleries, in conjunction with Lifeline, will host an off-site exhibition in Herne Bay at the Unlimited Potential Real Estate offices in Herne Bay. The exhibition will talk to Mental Health and be centred on the brief: 'Semicolon'. When used in writing the semicolon is an opportunity for a story to continue rather than end.

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Inspired by Project Semicolon, this message has been transposed as a symbol in the mental health world defining itself as "dedicated to presenting hope and love for those who are struggling with mental illness, suicide, addiction and self-injury", and "exists to encourage, love and inspire". The gallery will forgo their commission on the sale of exhibited artworks and funds will be donated to Lifeline.

Open between Tuesday 29 September - Monday 12 October. 162 Jervois Rd, Herne Bay. 

CONNECT WITH NATURE

"The best way to unwind is to get out into nature. I like going for runs or jumping into the ocean for a swim, luckily we live five minutes away from the sea so when I get the chance after a run I'll have a swim before or after work. Especially great over summer." Dan Ahwa, Viva creative director

READ: 12 Stunning Walks In Auckland & Beyond

GET CRAFTY

Local DIY pottery kit business Handsy has pledged its allegiance to mental health by launching this week, with a mission to inspire the next generation of crafters, and to give people a new tool to combat stress and anxiety. $5 from every kit sold will go towards the Mental Health Foundation.

JOIN A WEBINAR

Join a panel discussion with Viliami Toafa and James Heimuli from The Cause Collective along with Leanna Dey and Vishal George from Behavioural by Design to explore the topic of Integrating Pacific Health Models with Behavioural Science for Wellbeing, exploring a range of topics including:

- How does wisdom from Pacific models play a role in shaping how we think about community wellbeing?
- How are we building the enabling conditions for trust to talk about wellbeing together?
- What is behavioural science and how is it helpful in the context of community wellbeing?
- How can methodologies from behavioural science play a role in understanding and changing our behaviours?
- What does a framework integrating Pacific Health Models with behavioural science look like?

RSVP here: 

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