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Flying high beats depression

Flying high beats depression
Brendon Whitmore (pictured middle) with Tui Ora colleagues Sam Heath (right) and Maxine Reriti.

Last Updated: October 2016

Brendon Whitmore's way out of depression was to fly high. Literally.

In 2009 Whitmore, 33, returned to New Zealand from a navy deployment in a high risk part of the world. Back home he suffered post deployment stress. Then his marriage broke up and he had to sell his house, he said.

"From there I became very alone and isolated. I felt I lost myself. I didn't really know who I was or where I was heading. I didn't want to go out. I wanted to hide away. I was very untrusting of people. Didn't like to be around crowds of people. It was a very lonely dark place. It's a scary place. Not only for individuals but for family members."

As part of his recovery he was told he had to be physically active, so, as well as playing in a few touch teams he got into circus arts. 

Whitmore left the navy in 2013 to come home to New Plymouth where he set up a little boutique fitness studio called Suspension Flow Fitness, where he teaches, among other things aerial yoga. And he is still does his circus arts.

He also works at Maori health provider Tui Ora and uses his experience to help others.

"And to raise awareness, especially for males. It's letting people know it's ok to talk about things. It's ok to reach out and ask for help. It's a journey that will get better."

There's help and services out there and early intervention is the key, he said.

"I would definitely encourage people to get active in the community. activities groups. And I'm passionate about physical activity. Do anything you are capable of doing, swimming, even walking." Read his full story in the Taranaki Daily News here.

WHERE TO GET HELP in Taranaki

  • Talk to your local GP, school counsellor or a public health nurse.
  • Tui Ora 06 759 4064.  For mild to moderate mental health support see the Taranaki Primary Connections page on our website.
  • Supporting Families 06 757 9300 or www.supportingfamilies.org.nz
  • Progress to Health 06 757 5549  or www.progresstohealth.org.nz
  • Pathways 06 757 2864 or www.pathways.co.nz
  • Taranaki District Health Board Assessment Brief Care Team 0508 277 478 (for crisis support)

WHERE TO GET HELP

  • The Mental Health Foundation's free Resource and Information Service (09 623 4812) will refer callers to some of the helplines below:
  • Lifeline (open 24/7): 0800 543 354
  • Depression Helpline (open 24/7): 0800 111 757
  • Healthline (open 24/7): 0800 611 116
  • Samaritans (open 24/7): 0800 726 666
  • Suicide Crisis Helpline (open 24/7): 0508 828 865 (0508 TAUTOKO). Youthline (open 24/7): 0800 376 633. You can also text 234 for free between 8am and midnight, or email talk@youthline.co.nz
  • 0800 WHATSUP children's helpline: 0800 9428 787 Online chat is available from 7pm to 10pm every day at www.whatsup.co.nz.
  • Kidsline (open 24/7): 0800 543 754. This service is for children aged 5 to 18.
  • Alcohol Drug Helpline (open 24/7): 0800 787 797. You can also text 8691 for free.
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