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Mental Health Awareness Week 2020 encourages New Zealanders to reimagine wellbeing

Mental Health Awareness Week 2020 encourages New Zealanders to reimagine wellbeing
September 18, 2020

The Mental Health Foundation (MHF) of New Zealand highlights that Mental Health Awareness Week (MHAW) 21st to 27th September 2020, with its theme of Reimagine Wellbeing Together – He Tirohanga Anamata encourages New Zealanders to reflect on the big and small actions they’ve taken to take care of each other this year, and to look at wellbeing through a new lens.

MHF Chief Executive Shaun Robinson advises “we want New Zealanders to reimagine what wellbeing looks and feels like, and believe that wellbeing is possible for everyone.

Robinson acknowledges a level change announcement is due next week, which may bring up feelings of unease, but says he’s proud of how New Zealanders “have rallied together and tackled the challenges of shifting through different levels.

“Our new normal is quite different. The way we work, go to school and kura, and connect with friends and whānau have all changed this year – so if you’re feeling off balance right now, know that it’s completely normal to feel that way.  

“Mental Health Awareness Week is a timely reminder of how important it is to embrace the simple things we can do each day to really help strengthen our wellbeing – that’s what will help us during the tough times.”

Robyn Shearer, Deputy-Director General, Mental Health and Addiction at the Ministry of Health agrees and adds “I’m particularly pleased to hear so many schools and kura are taking part this year as we know it’s been a particularly hard time for our young people, with disruptions and concerns about what will be waiting for them when they leave school or tertiary education.

“It’s been a very unusual year. It’s more important than ever to remind ourselves and each other that there are things we can do every day to look after our mental wellbeing. And taking care of each other and being kind is up there at the top of the list.”

MHF advise that “across Aotearoa, almost 10,000 workplaces, communities, whānau, schools and kura will be celebrating the taonga/treasure that is our mental health.

“Each day of MHAW has a theme inspired by Te Whare Tapa Whā, a model developed by Māori health advocate and MHF patron Sir Mason Durie.”

MHF Kaiwhakarite Māori Development Specialist, Thomas Strickland notes “Te Whare Tapa Whā helps us to find ways to look after our taha wairua (spiritual health), taha tinana (physical health), taha hinengaro (emotional and mental health), taha whānau (family and friends). When all these things are in balance, including the whenua (foundations) we thrive. When one or more of these is out of balance, our wellbeing is impacted.

The daily MHAW themes are:

Monday 21st September: Whānau

Recharge with others / Whiria te muka tangata

Tuesday 22nd September: Wairua

Rediscover everyday wonder / Whāia ngā mīharotanga o ia rā

Wednesday 23rd September: Whenua

Return to nature / Hono ki te taiao

Thursday 24th September: Tinana

Refuel your body / Whakamarohi tō tinana

Friday 25th September: Hinengaro

Refresh your mind / Whāngaia tō hinengaro

These themes will be used as part of the popular wellbeing photo challenge which runs from 21st to 25th September. New Zealanders are encouraged to take photos related to the theme to show what wellbeing looks like to them.   

For more information go to

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15th October 2018 - Sport NZ research confirms physical activity enhances mental wellbeing

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