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Mental Health Awareness Week celebrates the power of giving

The Mental Health Foundation is bringing back Mental Health Awareness Week (MHAW) once again in 2015, from 5 – 11 October. The theme this year is GIVE – Give your time, your words, your presence.

MHAW-Website (1)“Improving wellbeing is important for everyone, regardless of whether or not you have a mental illness,” says MHF acting chief executive, Hugh Norriss.

“People are often surprised to find that doing little things like giving up your seat on the bus can have a lasting impact on your mood and sense of wellbeing.”

GIVE is one of the five ways to wellbeing. Kiwis are one of the highest givers of their time in the OECD, through volunteering and helping others .

“As well as volunteering, just small every day acts of giving can have a big impact, such as letting someone else in front of you in line at the supermarket, smiling at strangers, complimenting a friend. When we give we feel happier, feel more positive about life and other people, and are more likely to trust and cooperate with others,” Hugh Norriss says.

“Not only that, but when you give you inspire others to behave generously – they pay it forward. It’s a really generous way to look after yourself!”

Of course, MHAW is also an opportunity to acknowledge and support those living with mental illness.

Health Minister Jonathan Coleman says mental health awareness week is a timely reminder of the support people can give each other and the health services available.

“It’s important people get the mental health support and services they need. One in five New Zealanders are affected by a mental illness every year, with depression and anxiety the most common forms,” he says.

Minister of Health Jonathan Coleman

Minister of Health Jonathan Coleman

“Funding for mental health and addiction services has steadily increased from $1.1 billion in 2008/09 to over $1.4 billion in 2014/15.

“The Government is working to improve mental health services through Rising to the Challenge – The Mental Health and Addiction Service Development Plan.

“It’s a collective effort by the Ministry of Health and other Government agencies, DHBs, NGOs and primary care to enhance service integration and expand access to services.

“A number of mental health initiatives are underway, including the recent $500,000 funding boost for initiatives targeted at rural communities.


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