City well prepared to face current and future hurdles

Ciaran Fox shows off his office set up. Photo: Supplied
Ciaran Fox shows off his office set up. Photo: Supplied
Christchurch has been through a lot over the past decade. How could the lockdown impact the city's residents after the earthquakes and mosque terror shootings?

All Right? mental health promotion strategist Ciaran Fox has seen the Christchurch community pull together in times of crisis and believes the city's history will leave it in a good position to pull through the lockdown period. 

"I firmly believe that our past leaves us in a position of strength and not vulnerability," Ciaran Fox said.

"I think we have learnt a lot, that first test for us after the earthquakes was the mosque shootings, seeing how the community came together last year, I think that response was a result of hard graft and experiences people endured after the earthquakes.

"I think this lockdown is another hurdle that Christchurch will leap over."

Mr Fox, who works as a mental health promotion strategist for All Right? has analysed the mental well-being of communities across the city since the organisation's inception in 2013.

"What I essentially do is work in population mental health, I don't work with people individually, I work on campaigns and programmes to enable communities to have better mental well-being

All Right?, a collaboration between the Canterbury District Health Board and Mental Health Foundation, was launched to support the psychosocial recovery of Cantabrians following the earthquakes of 2010 and 2011.

The campaign aims to normalise conversations around mental health. It also undertakes in-depth research into the well-being of communities.

According to last year's Canterbury well-being survey, which has been conducted since late 2012, 68 per cent of respondents said they still experienced stress compared to 80 per cent of respondents in 2012.

Mr Fox believes the tragedies the city has endured over the past decade have led to the population developing a "well-being literacy" above and beyond those of other cities.

"We have learnt some interesting lessons as a community and that mental well-being is actually a thing and that it is impacted by events like the earthquakes and shootings but that it is also something that you can have a bit of control over.

"We are in a position where we can possibly lead the way and show other communities how to support each other."

Mr Fox, who is currently working out of his bedroom while his partner and daughter work out of the living room, said it was early days but "so far, so good."

He understood self-isolation presented a series of challenges but also saw it offering a set of opportunities.

"Some people are saying they are nervous about going into self-isolation but others are looking forward to slowing down a bit, having a simpler lifestyle and seeing their family more, we will see how we feel about that after four weeks though."

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