Tag Archives: Mental Health Awareness Week

Mental Health Awareness Week – Five Ways to Wellbeing and support on campus

This week is Mental Health Awareness Week in Aotearoa New Zealand, which is all about focusing on our wellbeing and making sure we’re looking after ourselves.

The Five Ways to Wellbeing are five simple yet proven actions you can use every day to help you find balance, build resilience and boost your wellbeing.

Talk and listen, be there, feel connected

Embrace new experiences, see opportunities, surprise yourself

Remember the simple things that give you joy

Do what you can, enjoy what you do, move your mood

Your time, your words, your presence

Support on campus
If you’d like to talk to someone about life at UC, getting help with course work, a personal matter or you just need someone to talk to, there is a range of free support available on campus.



Using social enterprise to benefit community wellbeing

As part of Mental Health Awareness Week Brittany Stewart, Logan Williams and Timothy Mills debunk some of the myths about social enterprises they learnt while taking part in the Kathmandu New Zealand Student Social Enterprise Challenge. The theme of the challenge was wellbeing and as the team discovered, generating social benefit can be quite challenging.

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Recently, I had the opportunity to compete in the Kathmandu New Zealand Student Social Enterprise Challenge at UC. We had just 48 hours to create and develop a social enterprise with the goal to provide improved mental health and wellbeing to our communities.

Our team developed Shirt off my back, a social enterprise which aimed to improve the wellbeing of kiwi kids in low decile schools by providing them with essential clothing they may not have with the aim of improving the quality of their day-to-day-life and their engagement at school.

Going into the challenge I thought I understood what it meant to create a viable social enterprise, but I was wrong. There are many misconceptions to social enterprises which often prevent people from undertaking the challenge of starting one up. I plan to set these misconceptions straight to prove why social enterprises are becoming more important than ever to help our communities.

  1. “Social enterprises are just about being environmentally friendly”

Social enterprises are well-known for their environmentally friendly products. However, there are many social enterprises which aim to have a social impact, where they want to create businesses which give back to communities, like Shirt off my back.

  1. “Social enterprises do not make any money”

During the challenge, the most difficult part of creating our social enterprise was figuring out how to make money! However, many social enterprises are very profitable. Shirt off my back uses a one-for-one model. For every item of clothing a consumer buys at one of our retail partners, the retailer will give an item of clothing to Shirt off my back to distribute to kids that need them most.  The aim of a social enterprise is to deliver benefits by using their revenues to finance activities that generate social benefit.

Social enterprises have the potential to address issues in our communities in a self-sustaining way. Social enterprises provide the opportunity for people to improve their communities in a way that neither capitalism nor charity has yet been able to match.

If you want to find out more about social enterprise in New Zealand check out: http://akina.org.nz/

Sam Brosnahan: how are ya, really?

– How are ya?
– Yeah good, yourself?
– Yeah good thanks [proceed with conversation].

I’m a bit like you. After Sam Brosnahanstopping to think for a sec how often I rattle off this same conversation with people I bump into everyday, the answer was yep, often.

The question is: how are you really doing? It was the spring of 2015 and the world wasn’t such a bright place for me – I had just come out of a physical injury, a close cousin had just passed away suddenly – and before long all I could feel was my world imploding inside.

As dark clouds seemed to swirl around me for weeks on end, all I maintained was this shell of outward composure, but all I could feel inside was that everything I had worked for, believed in, hoped and dreamed for were all slipping away.

I knew something was up, that something didn’t feel right. Was this just a situation not worth dragging others into? It got to the point where I had to call on an older couple, that were family friends that I love and trusted, for help. Understanding there was hope and it was okay to feel like that was the best advice they ever gave me.

Sometimes when it comes to a concept like mental health, mental disorder or mental wellbeing, we can tend to put it in an ‘others’ category, which doesn’t really apply to me. The reality is we all have a mind, a state of mental being and a level of how ‘well’ this state of mentality is.

It’s the old classic – we place huge importance on our physical health or physique and we’ll like, post and spend time training, and at the same time if we get injured we’d most likely see a specialist, take time out and let mates know about it.

I won’t slam you with the stats, we all know mental health related issues are on the rise in Aotearoa New Zealand – many of us know someone that’s been affected by anxiety, depression or suicide, let alone us directly.

It’s Mental Health Awareness Week this week and you’ll see posters around uni sharing a little love around the place. UCSA are putting on a programme of events to help celebrate the week and help encourage you to look out for you and your friends and whānau.

Share your struggle with mates, be a good listener, take a break, eat well, get outdoors, climb a tree, row a boat or ring your gran. Look after yourself – you matter more than you could ever know.

Kia kaha.

Sam Brosnahan
UCSA Equity & Wellbeing Rep

Check out the full programme of UCSA events here>
Get involved on social media using #MHAW #UCNow
See what’s on for Mental Health Awareness Week>

Need support now?

  • The Mental Health Foundation of New Zealand Mauri tū, Mauri ora has excellent advice. Visit mentalhealth.org.nz – look for the ‘in crisis’ button.