Sticks and Stones - Mental Health NZ with Finding Kowhai

Sticks & Stones may break your bones but words will never hurt you - An age old saying with good intentions, but also a rather perfect example of how as a whole, society does not recognise nor appreciate our mental health as being just as significant to our overall wellness, as our physical health is.
The Facts -
Mental abuse is just as detrimental to our overall health as physical attacks. Our mental wellbeing should be cared for and looked after, just as our physical health should be. Anxiety, depression & stress - should be treated as seriously as our physical ailments. Mental Health is not a topic that should be taken lightly and the most recent statistics around mental health and suicide rates in NZ reflect this. 

The annual provisional suicide statistics for deaths reported to the Coroner (mental show, that 668 New Zealanders died by suicide in the 2017/2018 statistic year - being the highest since records began. According to - Depression is growing to become common amongst our youth. Affecting 1 in 7 NZ adolescents, before the age of 24.

More and more people in Aotearoa are loosing their loved ones to mental illness & we want to see a change.

A note from me -
For me, mental health and its surroundings is still a topic I struggle to openly talk about. Like most of us, I have had my fair share of ups and downs, and navigating my way through my own personal journey in regards to my mental well-being, has not always been easy.

So after a lot of backspacing and starting again... I decided that I would hand over the story telling to one of the most resilient Wahine I know. A woman who knows how to articulate herself in times of strife & who strives to give others the strength to stand up and speak out. Some of you may know this wonderful lady as 'thisisgeorgiie' from Instagram (if you don't, then go and check her out)... Georgia is doing incredible things in regards to mental health awareness and suicide prevention in NZ, and her story is more than inspiring.

Here at La Luna we want to create a community that celebrates sustainable well-being and lends a helping hand to those who need it most - which is why we have decided to team up with Georgia and hopefully together we can make a big change! We could not be more excited to be welcoming 'Finding Kowhai' - An initiative created by Georgia Harris, into our family of passion projects in 2019. 

The Real Stuff - 
So here is Georgia with a little bit about her story, her views on mental health awareness & the support avaliable in NZ, her incredible new initiative and what you can do to help!
(Via @thisisgeorgiie)
'Finding Kowhai'
By Georgia Harris
Suicide. A word that New Zealanders are all too familiar with yet when it comes to talking about it, where do we even start?
My unrelenting quest for a better future started in my last year of primary school, after a harrowing personal sexual assault.
At 12 years of age, in my local library after school, I started to read books about trauma and Mental Health.  It was during this time that I felt an inner strength to fight.  Fight for my own mental health and eventually fight for those around me.  Not only did I suffer from anxiety, severe PTSD and depression, but little did I know, Sydney, my dad was also suffering and fighting his own battle with mental health. 
"Growing up with a parent who has poor mental health is a confusing journey for a child, whether the child understands what their parent is going through or not.  There are times when you need to work out complicated situations that you believe other families would never understand". 
For over 8 years, my family walked a long road with Dad, a battle we all hoped he would get through. Sadly however, at the age of 53, six months ago on the 15th of October 2018, he lost his battle with Mental Illness and died by suicide. 
"I don’t want any family to bury their loved one due to suicide. The never ending trauma and aftershock that comes from such a tragic death is made a lonely isolated journey due to poor resources and families having no hands to hold"
After Dad's suicide, I recognised a significant gap in New Zealand’s Mental Health system.
"As a society, we tend to have a focus on expecting those with poor mental health to get in touch with outside organisations or crisis lines.  Sadly, those who are most unwell will not (during their darkest moments) do this.  They will not ask for help.  Why? Because it is not their rational brain making those decisions anymore, their thoughts have been taken over by a strong powerful darkness.  
It is vital we hold out our hand to support our family, friends, neighbours, colleagues and those closest to them who are by their side everyday.  It is vital we become a community who cares."   
With the help of our incredible sponsors, Finding Kowhai will support kiwi families who have been bereaved by suicide. This initiative means that every bereaved family around our country will receive relevant information in regards to services in their area + tailored gift packages. These packs will be delivered by a Finding Kowhai associate, no matter where the family is living in New Zealand. 

Families will receive their pack 4 weeks after their loved ones passing,  meaning that they will receive advice on where they can get help and the support they need rather than desperately struggling to find these contacts themselves. 

"There are so many organisations in this country that strive for change which is incredible yet during the many years dad was engulfed with depression, we never knew about any of them apart from the district health board who was responsible for helping dad navigate his way through the darkest of spaces. It's important for Finding Kowhai to allow families struggling to see the importance of those in their community helping make change happen and giving those bereaved by suicide a lot of hope"

By showing those bereaved by suicide that there is a community around supporting them, and where to receive the best care for that family, we know that this will make those in our country feel strongly supported during the traumatic time.

 The help does not stop once the packages are delivered and six months after the death of their loved one, families will receive another package delivered straight to their door. 

 The initiative aims to help reduce our horrific statistics in New Zealand, and show that we as a country do not shy away from these devastatingly high statistics and choose to face the problem head on by holding out our hand and showing what hope looks like.  

Our motto is "It takes a community", because it does and a lot don't realise that the pathway to getting better starts with a helping hand from a loved one. If you know someone that is struggling then please don't be afraid to make an active decision to help make their day whether it be with a handwritten note, a cup of tea on their desk at work, taking their kids out to the park on the weekend if they need a bit of a break, a sunset walk or inviting them over for dinner so they don't need to cook. 

From all of us here at Finding Kowhai, Kia Kaha New Zealand.

What you can do to support this incredible initiative:  

As of this evening, we will be introducing & selling a Kowhai Range. 

15% of each sale will be going directly back into Finding Kowhai and we will make sure to keep you updated on what Georgia is doing and other ways you can help!

  Our Kowhai Range will include... 

A handcrafted Kowhai Candle - Decorated with yellow macramé & scented with the gentle and calming scent of lavender and vanilla. 

An artisan soap, infused with lavender essential oils, dried lavender leaves and decorated with an Aroha emblem. 

And finally, one of the latest additions to La Luna - Our Calming Kowhai Tea Blend - A mixture of lavender, chamomile and rose tea leaves, stored in a recycled jar and ready to be brewed in hot water. 

A Final Word - 

Thank you for taking time to read our blog today, your support means the world to us and without you - we wouldn't be able to do what we do. 

Finally, if you or anyone that you know is feeling overwhelmed with anxiety, thoughts and feelings of depression, or you just need someone to talk to - then please know that you are not alone and that there is free, trained and accessible help out there in NZ. Such as 1737 - an incredible helpline that runs 24/7 and will connect you to a trained counsellor. All you have to do is free call or text 1737.

Alternatively you can find an extensive list of mental health services through the link below -

No ones experience with mental health is the same, and you should never feel any less because of your struggles. Everyones journey looks different and strength comes in all shapes and sizes - so please be gentle with yourself and proud of every small step that you take.

Arohanui - La Luna

(Via Rupi Kaur)

Older Post Newer Post

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published