October 2017

A touch rugby tournament in Hawera, South Taranaki on October 12 is a chance to raise awareness of mental health and bring the community together.  Jane Matthews of the South Taranaki Star profiles the organisation and purpose of the day.

Michal Cadwell of Pathways and Mihi Kahu of Tui Ora are looking forward to Mental Health Awareness Week so much they're already getting out and being one with nature.

An upcoming touch rugby tournament has a more important purpose than crowning a winner - its aim is to get people out and about and raise awareness for mental health.

Despite the fact touch rugby and mental health don't sound like they mix, Michal Caldwell, the team leader at South Taranaki Pathways, is certain they do.

"What we know about mental illness is that being outdoors, being back with nature, and all those things is actually really helpful toward wellness," Caldwell said.

"It's not going to be highly competitive, it's about togetherness and us just coming in support of mental health awareness."

The South Taranaki Touch Rugby Tournament is taking place on October 12 during the Nature is Key themed Mental Health Awareness Week (MHAW) to bring the community, services and mental health service providers together.

"We sort of got together and we decided it would be really cool to do something, that included all of us, that we could do to raise awareness for mental health and support our community," Caldwell said.

"Anyone can participate, they can be people who are really active, or they can be people who never do activity. It's about us being together on the day and being outdoors with nature."

Caldwell said they also wanted people to be able to access information about services in the region.

"If anyone wants to come up and ask questions or they've got queries about something there will be someone there to give them some direction," she said.

"We're going to try make it as fun, and as down to earth as we can."

Romy Mullan-Heijnen, from Tui Ora, agreed.

"Sometimes it can be hard to connect with others or find the information you need," Mullan-Heijnen said.

"It's great that we can join other organisations and help with the week as a way to bring people together, have fun and learn a thing or two."

The tournament is being held at the Hawera Soccer Club on Turuturu Rd and will run from 10am-2pm.

Organisations and families are encouraged to enter a team, or two, of six players by emailing [email protected] with the name of your team and organisation (if applicable), key contact name, phone and email.

For more information, please access South Taranaki MHAW Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/STMHAW/(external link)

Caldwell said during MHAW businesses were encouraged to do a 'lock out'.

"It's a nation wide thing where bosses basically lock the doors from the inside for an hour so all of the staff have to go outside for an hour, and go and do something," she said.

"So it might mean going for a walk or going for a coffee - Nature is key."

Where to go for help:

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). This is a service for people who may be thinking about suicide, or those who are concerned about family or friends.
Youthline (open 24/7) - 0800 376 633. You can also text 234 for free between 8am and midnight, or email [email protected]
0800 WHATSUP children's helpline - phone 0800 9428 787 between 1pm and 10pm on weekdays and from 3pm to 10pm on weekends. Online chat is available from 7pm to 10pm every day at www.whatsup.co.nz(external link).
Kidsline (open 24/7) - 0800 543 754. This service is for children aged 5 to 18. Those who ring between 4pm and 9pm on weekdays will speak to a Kidsline buddy. These are specially trained teenage telephone counsellors
Your local Rural Support Trust - 0800 787 254 (0800 RURAL HELP)
Alcohol Drug Helpline (open 24/7) - 0800 787 797. You can also text 8691 for free.

- Stuff

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