WDHB gets behind Mental Health Awareness Week

7 October 2016


Whanganui District Health Board (WDHB) staff plan to be out in force supporting Monday’s 5km Round-the- Bridges Walk to kick off Mental Health Awareness Week in Whanganui.


WDHB health promoter Bruce Jones says the walk leaves from the riverbank upstream from the i-Site at  5.30pm after Kaumatua John Maihi’s official opening at 5pm. To encourage participants to ‘Connect with Nature’, everyone is being asked to wear green.


Mr Jones says while a number of the events taking place over the week are fun, there is a serious message behind them.


“One in five people experience mental health challenges in their lifetime so this is a good time for all of us to stop and think about what that means to those people,” Mr Jones says.


“It affects them, their familes, their work colleagues and the professionals who support them so it’s very important that we view mental illness as just that – an illness like any other physical condition that we all experience through our lives.


“Thanks to John Kirwan and others taking part in the ‘Like Minds’ campaign, the stigma that so often impacts on those with mental illness is slowly disappearing. We have a lot to thank this campaign for.


 “I’m delighted that the WDHB is one of seven Whanganui organisations which belong to the ‘Removing Barriers’ group responsible for putting together this week’s programme of events.


“Our focus is very much on encouraging us all to connect with nature and improve our mental health and wellbeing. It’s widely recognised that getting outside and exercising is one of the most beneficial things we can do to imporve our mental health and outllook on life.


 “We’re delighted to be bringing high profile New Zealand actor Rob Mokaraka to Whanganui on Tuesday 11 October to present two sessions from 12pm-2pm and 6pm-8pm at the Central Baptist Church, 285 Wicksteed St.


“Rob has battled depression for some years so his one-man show titled ‘Shot Bro’ is a very moving, personal story of courage and hope.”


Mr Jones says he hopes to see people of all ages attend this week’s events which have been well advertised. Brochures can be picked up at Nga Tai O Te Awa, 142 Guyton St. Alternatively, the brochure can be seen on the WDHB’s website www.wdhb.org.nz.