Focus on ‘getting through together’

Volunteer South team member Rob Tigeir and manager Leisa de Klerk hold one of the posters...
Volunteer South team member Rob Tigeir and manager Leisa de Klerk hold one of the posters volunteers are putting around Dunedin for Mental Health Awareness Week. PHOTO: JESSICA WILSON
Dunedin’s volunteers are encouraging people to get through together.

Volunteer South and the Public Health South have teamed up this Mental Health Awareness Week to spread the message of the national "getting through together" campaign.

The campaign is focused on protecting and enhancing mental wellbeing so people can adapt and thrive after their lives have been disrupted by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Posters, postcards and leaflets with the message are being dropped at popular spots in the hopes of reaching people in need, such as cafes and community centres.

"It’s where people can easily access it," Volunteer South manager Leisa de Klerk said.

"The volunteers want the message shared and by asking businesses directly we help make community connections."

Volunteer South team member Rob Tigeir said there was a fine line about putting the information leaflets somewhere discrete and working to de-stigmatise mental health.

"You may not want to be in a queue of people when you pick it up," Mr Tigeir said.

"It’s a difficult line because obviously we’re trying to de-stigmatise mental health while simultaneously ensuring that people access the services."

The awareness week is due to end on Sunday, but the project may continue.

Ms de Klerk said volunteers would revisit places they left information to see if people had engaged with it.

"While Mental Health Awareness Week is a week, what we want people to do, and encourage people to do, is continue the conversation so that we do get to a place where we can talk about these things more freely without necessarily having to have a specific week for it," she said.

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