Banks Peninsula candidate's livestream marathon for mental health

Ben Atkinson. Photo: Supplied / Facebook
Ben Atkinson. Photo: Supplied / Facebook
An aspiring Christchurch politician will host a 654-minute livestream on Sunday to raise awareness about the 654 people lost to suicide in New Zealand last year.

The Opportunities Party's Banks Peninsula candidate, Ben Atkinson, will talk to mental health workers, practitioners and people who have experience with mental health issues during the 11-hour livestream on Facebook and YouTube from 9am on Sunday.

"Mental health is absolutely something that needs to be talked about here in Aotearoa, we have some of the most alarming mental health statistics in the OECD,” said Atkinson.

"I’m committing the 654 minutes of livestreaming to really dig into how people can get engaged in services and highlighting what we can do for mental health in our country.

"Sunday's livestream will kick off at 9am and will feature short 30-minute drop-ins from guests talking about a wide range of issues and their own lived experience.

"We have guests who run their own community supports, and people discussing their own lived experience through their individual perspectives, ranging from mental health on the spectrum to how mental health can affect you as a small business owner."

One in six New Zealand adults have been diagnosed with a mental health condition at some point in their lives, including depression, bipolar and anxiety disorders, according to the 2017/18 New Zealand Health Survey.

Atkinson said he recently started social support work, in which he engages with mental health and addiction clients, working through their housing and community support needs. 

"We know that talking to each other and talking about mental health can have a positive impact on mental health, so that’s what we’re aiming to achieve on this livestream event," said Atkinson.

"We’ll be discussing ways you can talk to your whānau, things you can do for yourself to help, where you can seek professional help, community support, and much more.

"Suicide is not just something to be accepted as a part of Kiwi life, we need to be doing everything possible to help suicidal people."

  • The livestream will be hosted on The Opportunities Party YouTube channel and Atkinson’s TOP Candidate Facebook page. It will run from 9am to 7.54pm.






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