Engage Aotearoa

Category Archives: Service-user Publication

Video Competition & Teaching Resource

Panui for Media Studies Teachers

The Mental Health Foundation is running a video competition for teenagers.

This is open to all students, but could be the product of a formative exercise for media production standards 2.6 and 3.6, for which a teaching unit plan is provided.

They are looking for a 30 second youth-friendly YouTube video that encourages youth to stop and pause when they hear  words like “nutjob”, “slut”, “schizo”, “mental”, and “homo”, and reflect on language that is stigmatising or discriminatory (especially in relation to mental illnesses).

The objectives are:

  • to provide students with  a useful insight into health marketing
  • to get students to help curtail bullying and to participate in mental health promotion
  • to generate a high-quality, resource we can use in a viral marketing campaign
  • it will be youth friendly and accessible
  • it will help to change people’s attitudes,
  • it well provide tools and skills to challenge inappropriate and demeaning language

What the brief will be for the video:

Work produced by youths has the potential to attract real interest from their peers.


Friday, 4th of April             Thehe unit plan will be sent to interested teachers

Friday, 20th of June          Entries close

Thursday, 17th of July      Awards ceremony

What the students will gain:

This will offer a meaningful learning opportunity based on the opportunity to produce a ‘real world’ product which will be used in a media campaign.

Research has indicated that teenagers care about the discriminatory language that they and their peers use, and would appreciate the opportunity to make clear statements about what is appropriate and what is not.

There will be prizes, and an award ceremony.

Perhaps more significantly, the winning students will achieve internet fame through a viral marketing campaign based on the winning videos; this will involve promotion through social media platforms and celebrity endorsements.

Teaching Resource.

This programme offers a high-quality teaching and summative assessment unit, including a lesson plans and assessment criteria, for media studies achievement standards 2.6 and 3.6 (media production), giving students practice in the skill of video production. This resource will be ready for the beginning of term 2.

If you are interested, please contact ivan@mentalhealth.org.nz, or on 027 2808972.

Chatters from Crossroads Clubhouse

The latest issue of Chatters is out from Crossroads Clubhouse, a community space for people with experience of mental-health problems, run by people with experience of mental-health problems.

Chatters jan 2014 Web

Arahura Charitable Trust: Crossroads Clubhouse
Crossroads Clubhouse is an opportunity centre. It provides adults who have had their lives disrupted by mental illness the chance to get back on track.

393 Great North Rd, Grey Lynn 1021
09-376 4267

Like Minds Newsletter for December 2013 is Online Now

The latest issue of the Like Minds Newsletter is available online now.

Inside Issue 54, December 2013: 

  • International anti-stigma campaigns and the Global Alliance Against Stigma meeting.
  • The winner of the reTHiNK Schizophrenia competition, James Allan and his winning billboard design.
  • Sonia Gray on why she decided to speak out about the discrimination she faced when applying for life insurance.
  • Lance Elliott has lived with schizophrenia for more than 20 years. He hopes to inspire other people with lived experience by sharing some of his story.
  • Natalie Roche, author of The Grand Optimist, explains her triumph over a series of traumatic life events.
  • Richard Towgood on how a bit of cheeky initiative and confidence allowed him to land a job.
  • The inaugural Mental Blocks grant recipients and their projects.

Surviving Suicidal Urges: e-Resource Now Available

Surviving Suicidal Urges is an e-Resource sharing tips for recovery from the storytellers in The Butterfly Diaries, Vol 1.

View, save and share Surviving Suicidal Urges.



The Butterfly Diaries is a creative book project sharing true stories of hope and transformation from people who have made it through the experience of being suicidal.

Storytellers took part in an interview and writers used the interview notes to turn their stories into creative works of fiction. The interview notes were also used to summarise each of the storytellers’ recovery strategies. These have now been collected together in the e-Resource Surviving Suicidal Urges.

Order a copy of the free book online to get the full story behind each set of tips.

You can find permanent links to this e-Resource on the Information Resources and Butterfly Diaries sections of the Engage Aotearoa website at www.engagenz.co.nz.


Supporting Someone Who Is Suicidal: An e-Resource from The Butterfly Diaries

Due to popular demand, the team at Engage Aotearoa has created an e-resource that shares the Storyteller Tips for Supporters from The Butterfly Diaries, Volume 1.


The Butterfly Diaries is a creative book project sharing stories of hope and transformation from people who have made it through the experience of being suicidal.

True, Kiwi stories of recovery are told by established writers in a variety of different forms. Storytellers were interviewed by the editors and writers used the interview notes to turn their stories into creative works of fiction. The editors used the interview notes to summarise the storytellers’ comments about what supporters did or could have done to help them. These have now been collected together in the e-Resource Supporting Someone Who Is Suicidal.

Visit The Butterfly Diaries to order a copy of the full book, learn more about the project or connect with other suicide prevention resources.

Click here to view, save and share Supporting Someone who is Suicidal.

You can find permanent links to this e-Resource on the Information Resources and Butterfly Diaries sections of the Engage Aotearoa website at www.engagenz.co.nz.

5 things I’ve learned about food and my mood


Five things I’ve learned about food and my mood

Recovery Notes #1

by Claire Sexton

It is generally accepted that our diets play a huge part in our overall physical fitness and health. But have you ever considered the possibility that the food you eat can also affect your mental health and mood? Although experts believe that clinical depression and other mood disorders cannot be cured by diet alone, they do advise certain food types, nutrients and eating habits in general can act as a natural aid alongside medication to help ease symptoms of depression and anxiety. After all you are what you eat, so getting a healthy, well balanced diet will make you feel healthy and happy too. Here are some of the nutrients that can make up a happy diet and help aid recovery for depression or simply just boost your mood.

1. Antioxidants

Free radical cells are responsible for a number of health issues, some of which can lead to serious diseases such as cancer and heart disease occurring. Free radicals can be caused by inhaling the harmful compounds from pollution or simply unexplained malfunctions in the body. They can also have a very detrimental effect on the brain’s functioning and contribute to causing mental-health problems such as depression to occur. Antioxidants found in types of vitamins can help fend off these free radical cells and protect your mind and body from their harmful effects. They can also help boost the immune system keeping you fighting fit from other bugs and infections too. Antioxidants can be found in a number of foods but they are most powerful in brightly coloured fruit and vegetables with high Vitamin C content such as broccoli, orange, peppers and berries. They are particularly potent in strawberries and blueberries which are being hailed as new ‘super foods’ due to the sheer amount of goodness in such small berries.

2. Happy carbs

One of the key reasons for irregular mood is irregular energy levels caused by irregular blood sugar. When you are running on caffeine or sugary highs you will find yourself feeling pumped up and full of energy one minute and lethargic and irritable the next. This rapid change isn’t good for your general health or your mood. Certain food types have simple molecular make ups which means the body breaks them down quickly and uses up the energy they provide quickly too. Try and adapt complex carbohydrates into your diet as these have a much more intricate make up which takes the body a lot longer to metabolize, thus leaving you with more regular and long lasting energy. With fatigue being one of the key symptoms in depression and low mood, feeling energized and ready to go is a great way to improve mood. Complex carbohydrates can be found in wholegrains such as brown rice, pasta, cereals and bread and also in a variety of vegetables.

Fact: Complex carbohydrates are generally less fattening than their simple counterparts and leave you feeling fuller for longer due to their high fibre content. This means that a diet rich in complex carbs can also help you maintain a healthy weight as well as improving your mood.

3. Protein

Foods high in protein contain a substance called tryptophan. When absorbed by the body this substance is transformed into serotonin – otherwise known as the happy hormone. This will make you feel more alert, calm and focused as well as providing you with more energy. It is also great for boosting the immune system and helping the body to fight off any ailments which may also bring your mood down. Protein can be found in a range of food types including dairy, fish, beans and poultry. It is also particularly high in bananas.

Fact: Whey protein is very potent in the tryptophan compound. Although you should try and get protein from your diet, you can buy whey protein in powder form and incorporate it into your meals either by stirring it into a stew, adding it to smoothies or even mixing it into a cake or bread mix.

4. Vitamin D

Although research is ongoing, experts believe that there is a clear link between Vitamin D and depression and those deficient in the vitamin are more susceptible to suffering from mental disorders. The reason for this isn’t fully understood but it is known that Vitamin D is vital in brain development. For this reason you should try and keep your levels of Vitamin D high through consuming full fat dairy products, red meat and some fish. It is worth noting that many foods rich in Vitamin D are generally quite fattening and for this reason experts are unsure just how much to recommend in dietary form. You can also add Vitamin D to your diet through supplements (although always speak to a healthcare provider first) or through a stroll in a sun. That’s right, the key source of Vitamin D is through natural sunlight.

Fact: A brisk walk in the sunlight can really be the ultimate mood enhancer. Not only are you elevating your levels of Vitamin D but you are also pumping blood around the body, improving oxygen levels and getting feel-good hormones circulating.

5. Eating habits

Getting the key nutrients is important in elevating mood but so are your eating habits in general. You need to ensure that you eat regularly to avoid blood sugar levels dropping and also ensure that you drink a lot of water throughout the day. Becoming dehydrated is a sure fire way to lead to fatigue and irritability and it can be very dangerous. Try to ensure that the food you eat means you can maintain a healthy weight. Being overweight can put extra pressure on vital organs and make you feel sluggish and tired. Combat this through regular exercise and healthy eating.

Fact: When it comes to drinking a lot, don’t assume that anything in liquid form will keep you hydrated. High caffeine drinks such as coffee, alcohol and some fizzy drinks actually act as a diuretic meaning that it makes your urinate more and this leads to dehydration occurring. They also tend to produce anxiety-like symptoms such as a rapid heart rate, followed by depression-like symptoms such as low energy dips.

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Practice Point: Check out Strategy 18 in The Coping Kete for ideas to help turn the Good Mood Food information into part of your daily practice.

About the Author:  Claire Sexton is a freelance writer and full-time mom with experience of supporting people she cares about through the experience of depression. This gave Sexton an interest in mental health in general.  After graduating college, she put a lot of effort into her career as a nutritionist, but when motherhood came along, she decided it was time to pull back and take up her other passion, writing. Now she writes about health and finds her work-life balance far more enjoyable. When not working and caring for her children, she likes to go for long walks and find ways to make family meals more exciting.

Read more Recovery Notes here

Recovery Notes is an Engage Aotearoa project that asks people to share the top five tips and insights they have learned from or about their personal experiences of mental-health recovery or being a supporter.

Write your own Recovery Note

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Copyright (c) 2013, Engage Aotearoa 


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Butterfly Diaries Launched: Order Online

The Butterfly Diaries Volume 1 was launched on the 13th of October at Fiesta in the Park – a free book of four true stories of recovery from the experience of being suicidal.

Engage Aotearoa set up a tent and invited people to take a book, decorate a butterfly with a coping tip and leave it on the tent to share with others. Sixty free books were handed out on the day and The Butterfly Diaries tent finished up covered in colourful butterflies and heaps of helpful tips people wanted to share.

Online orders flew in thick and fast since the release was first announced and another 2 00 books were posted out to across the country in the days following the launch. Books have been sent to Kaitaia, Kohukohu, Kerikeri, Whangarei, all across Auckland, Hamilton, Raglan, Thames, Tauranga, Timaru, Wellington, Lower Hutt, Christchurch, Dunedin, Invercargill and a range of towns the team had never heard of before. Orders even came in from as far afield as Glasgow and The Netherlands in the first few days. There are now only 20 copies of the first print run left and the team at Engage Aotearoa are in the process of ordering more.

As soon as the books flew out into the world, the first comments started flying in…

I’ve read my copy of the Butterfly Diaries and think it’s excellent – you must be really pleased with the end result, as I imagine the participants are. I’d be keen to get a box of them so we can take them with us when we present around the country.” 

Order Online

The Butterfly Diaries is free for individuals in the community. A small donation is requested to cover the cost of postage and handling ($2.50 p/bk). If you cannot donate, simply email admin@engagenz.co.nz with your address and you’ll be sent a copy anyway. 

Organisations can order copies online by making a donation to cover the cost of printing and posting the copies ordered ($5 p/bk). This allows Engage Aotearoa to keep free copies available for individuals in the community who may not use services.

Share the poster with the people you know and help make recovery stories easy for Kiwis to find.


Chatters Newsletter from Crossroads Clubhouse: Sep-Oct 2013

The September-October issue of Crossroad Clubhouse’s newsletter, Chatters was released on the 7th of October.

Click here to open Chatters September-October Issue

The Butterfly Diaries Volume 1: Launch & Order Details

The Butterfly Diaries Volume 1 is a FREE book of inspiring stories and personal tips from four people who have recovered from the experience of being suicidal.

Launch Details:

NOTE: Event Moved to Sunday 13th of October due to rain forecast for Saturday the 12th. 


Engage Aotearoa will be launching The Butterfly Diaries Volume 1 at Fiesta in the Park on the 13th of October for Mental Health Awareness Week. Come along to the free public concert and pop into The Butterfly Diaries Tent – a quiet corner covered in white paper butterflies where you can stop by to decorate a butterfly with a survival tip of your own, pick up a copy of the book, relax with a copy in the reading corner or listen to the authors and editors read from the book.

  • Where: Fiesta in the Park, Western Park, Ponsonby, Auckland
  • When: From midday Sunday 13 October 2012
    Reading Times:
    12:30 – 1:00 pm Michelle Bolton reads from Breathe and Breathe and Breathe by Phoebe Wright
    1:30 – 2:00 pm Owen Bullock reads from Enough Angels
    2:30 – 3:00 pm Miriam Larsen-Barr reads from Welcome to Today by Henrietta Bollinger
  • 3:30 – 4:00 pm Raewyn Alexander reads from Emerging from the Past, Transformed


The Butterfly Diaries, Volume 1
Four true stories of transformation told by four New Zealand writers.

  • Stories by Raewyn Alexander, Henrietta Bollinger, Owen Bullock and Phoebe Wright.
  • Foreword by Mike King
  • Edited by Miriam Larsen-Barr and Michelle Bolton

In Aotearoa, New Zealand, 1 in 6 people have suicidal thoughts each year. It is a normal human response to feel hopeless sometimes. It takes a great deal of distress tolerance, brute determination, skill development, support and understanding to survive the urge to act on those thoughts and feelings when they arise. But hardly anyone ever talks about suicidal thoughts and feelings, making it even harder for people to find out how to get through. The Butterfly Diaries gives voice to the stories of those who have been there and made it out alive. Sean, Jane, Mary and Brad have all been suicidal, survived their own suicide attempts and found their way to a place where they are glad to be living their lives. In The Butterfly Diaries they share how they strengthened their wings and learned to fly.

The first edition of The Butterfly Diaries Volume 1 will be placed in high-schools and GP waiting rooms across the NZ, to make recovery stories easy to find. Suicide rates peak among youth and most people who are suicidal visit a GP in the months leading up to making an attempt, even if they do not talk about how they are really feeling.

How to Order Copies

You can nominate a service or person to receive a copy of The Butterfly Diaries or order a copy for yourself by making a donation on the Engage Aotearoa website to cover the cost of posting your book. Just fill in your details and give the delivery address in the space provided. The minimum donation is set at NZ$2.50 (the cost of NZ postage and handling). A donation of $5 will get a copy posted for you and cover the costs of printing a copy for someone else.

Click here to order a copy of The Butterfly Diaries

Contact admin@engagenz.co.nz for more information


Want to help prevent suicide in NZ?

You can help get more copies of The Butterfly Diaries out there for people to read. Sponsor a print run by making a donation on the Engage Aotearoa website.  Every donation over $5 is tax deductible. A $20 donation pays for eight more books. A $500 donation prints enough books for a small school. 

Latest Changing Minds Newsletter is Out

This month’s update from the crew over at Changing Minds has heaps of upcoming events and news items you’ll want to know about.

Click Here to Read the Changing Minds E-Newsletter

As well as sharing events and news from across the mental-health sector, Changing Minds have also announced an event of their own for World Mental Health Awareness Day on October 10th. More details below.

Changing Minds Panel Discussion

Changing Minds will be holding a panel discussion on the evening of the 10th of October to celebrate world mental health day, and mental health awareness week; places will be advertised soon, for further information please email Ainslie by clicking here.