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Homegrown ad campaign to tackle youth suicide
An initiative to tackle the tragically high rate of rangatahi suicide in Taranaki has born a homegrown public awareness campaign that really hits home with its target audience.
Tui Ora working alongside the Department of Corrections drafted a group of local youth (men and women under 25) as a focus group. They were asked questions about mental health problems and suicide prevention and asked to come up with a campaign that really spoke to them. Te Puni Kokiri funded the programme.
Department of Corrections Service Manager for New Plymouth Annette Perrett said:
“The HomeGrown facilitators asked the group what they felt was missing in their community? What were the big issues they were facing? How do you keep yourself well? And where do you go for support?”
Over a 12-month period the group met regularly, sometimes every week, and worked out the key themes that they felt contributed to better mental wellbeing and came up with: nutrition, fitness, managing anger, supporting each other and reaching out when you feel low.
The team then developed a poster campaign, writing the slogans themselves and taking photos on their iphones. Plans are to have the posters will be printed by the prison print shop and rolled out across Taranaki in the New Year.
Two young men instrumental in creating the campaign are quietly proud of their achievement. One says:
“Before I started this I thought I just needed to harden up. Now I think about things differently. It’s all about your wellbeing.”
“The hardest thing about it was the personal training session we did with Tony Earl (a local CrossfFit trainer). The work out was definitely hard. The words we came up with pretty easy to be honest,” says another.
Both men have experienced suicide among their friend groups or whānau. Prior to being involved with the group they didn’t know that there were places they could reach out to for support. Both men wear their wristbands that have the number for the Suicide Prevention helpline.
Probation Officer Kat Ingram said:
“We’ve had amazing feedback on the campaign and think it has potential to go bigger. One of the team is working on a rap, we’re talking to the mayor about a billboard. We’re also planning on speaking to the media and running the ads on social media.”
Tui Ora health promoter Sue Martin says:
“We are so proud of what the team have achieved and for sticking with it. They came up with amazing ideas, and we know they speak to them and other young people like them.”
To contact The Suicide Prevention Helpline dial 0508 828 865 (0508 TAUTOK0).