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We’re Still Here

You will probably have noticed that things have been quiet on the Engage Aotearoa front over the last couple of years. We are still here, but we’ve been in hibernation while I completed the last two years of my doctorate. While we were in hibernation, the scale of things shrunk a bit, so we are now back to the original ‘team’ who built the site back in 2009, myself and Daniel Larsen-Barr. We’ll be slowly gearing back up again soon. But in the meantime background wheels are still turning.

We’ve already got some things on the horizon, namely the next volume of Butterfly Diaries with the final two stories, a call for stories from young people for a special youth volume of The Butterfly Diaries, and a bunch of worksheets from Engage Group, which I think are about over-due for being put online where anyone can find them. I’ve always been reluctant to put them online because I think CBT worksheets are hard and sometimes distressing to do alone without any guidance to go with them. So I’m going to add a sheet of tips to go with each one and you’ll see them start to appear over the next few months. I added the Thriving Lives Worksheet to the Coping Resources page not long ago, so check it out if you haven’t seen it already.

And any day now I will return to adding new strategies to the Coping Kete on a regular basis.

All the best,

Miriam

 

Engage Update: New Resource to Help Teachers Talk About Coping with their Classes

Engage Aotearoa is pleased to announce the launch of a new resource that has been long in the making. The Coping Posters Teaching Resource guides teachers to use The Coping Kete to engage students with the static image component of the Year 9 English curriculum, get them talking about how to cope with the rough parts of life and share coping information among the wider school community.

Taipa Area School Static image Comp 1st Place Engage Aotearoa

Winner: Taipa Area School Poster Competition 2014

This resource was created in collaboration with Ilana Hill. The Engage Aotearoa team met Ilana Hill in mid-2014 at a LifeHack Weekend in the Far North. She was then a Year 9 teacher at Taipa Area School who wanted to get her students talking about safe ways of coping with distress and get them excited about the Year 9 English curriculum. Over the following months we collaborated to create a set of guidelines that would allow her to safely explore coping with her students. Students would create posters to promote positive coping and The Coping Kete to their community, while they learned about static images. The top posters would be shared on the Engage Aotearoa website and the school’s newsletter where they could reach parents and other family members as well as the wider school body. Students were excited to create a poster that promoted an idea that might have an impact in the real world.  The winning posters were published in November 2014 and posted on social media.

The Coping Poster Teaching Resource includes Ilana Hill’s original teaching inquiry, guidelines for teachers that set out how to introduce the topic in the same way, poster guidelines for students, coping poster planning worksheets, a practice analysis worksheet and information sheets that define different static image elements set out in the worksheet. These align with the elements covered in the Year 9 curriculum.

Download The Coping Poster Teaching Resource here

Visit Engage Aotearoa’s Coping Resources page to find The Coping Kete and the Teaching Resource together in one place.

Submitting Information to the Engage Blog

VoiceBoxMEgaphoneYou are welcome to send information about any mental-health recovery related news and events, whether it’s some new research, a consultation process, a new service, a support group, a social activity or a workshop. From time-to-time we will also publish guest feature articles and opinion pieces. To include your notice in the Blog, please send the following information, in the main body of an email with any related images or documents attached to admin@engagenz.co.nz.

What to Send

Title:  Your Headline Like This.
Description/Information: Please use third person when describing your events and activities to make the source of the information clear (i.e. avoid using ‘I’, ‘we’, ‘us’, ‘my’ or ‘our’ unless it is part of a quote or an opinion piece). Have a look at some existing posts if you are unsure.
Date/Time:
Location/Address:
Contact Details: Organisation/Group, Person, Email, Phone Number.
Link for Further Information:  Facebook page, website etc

You may want to include images or attachments in your post.

  • Poster/Flyer/Logo Images: jpeg or GIF format, file-size of 200 KB or less
  • Attachments: pdf or doc format, file-size of 1 MB or less

Submit your items at least one month before you need them to be published online.

Teacher Uses Coping Kete to Theme Static Image Lessons

Engage Aotearoa went to the Far North LifeHack Weekend in mid-2014 and met Ilana Hill, a Year 9 teacher at Taipa Area School with a passion for suicide prevention. She had the idea to use the content in The Coping Kete to get her students talking about coping and at the same time engage them meaningfully in the Static Image component of the Year 9 English curriculum.

Ilana says “I have a year 9 class that is full of energy and disparate personalities. I was very worried about engagement in English and I was seeking ways to make learning relevant and meaningful.” She adds, “I was really excited about helping make useful information about how to cope with depression visually accessible. I got the idea that perhaps … it could even be a subtle vehicle to teach them some of their own coping techniques for when times get tough.”

I hoped students would develop compassion and tools to become resilient as they progress through their teenage years in a very low decile area where they have to face a lot of negativity in their lives.”

Students were motivated by the knowledge that the top two posters would actually be shared on the Engage Aotearoa website to help more people find what they need. In this way, the project gave students an opportunity to make a real difference to their communities. Mindful of the sensitivity of mental-health related topics in school, Ilana worked with Engage Aotearoa and her school principal to set safe guidelines for the project and incorporated these into her existing lesson plans for the Year 9 static image curriculum.

Engage Aotearoa and the CMHRT board of trustees would like to thank Ilana for leading this partnership and giving permission for her material to be turned into a resource for others (this will be available on the Engage Aotearoa website shortly). The team also sends out a massive thanks to the students at Taipa Area School for their amazing work in creating graphic designs that share ideas that matter. You all did a fantastic job and in the words of the service director “we wish we had space for all of them!”

Check out the top two designs below and help us share these young Kiwis’ work as far and wide as it can go.

First Place

Aaliyah for It’s Ok to Have a Bad Day

Judges notes: “This poster design stood out for its simplicity and the importance of the message that Aaliyah chose to highlight from The Coping Kete. One of the most important things for surviving the tough times, is being allowed to have tough times. So much of our suffering comes from not being allowed to feel what we feel. Strategy 29 in The Coping Kete is all about telling ourselves that it is okay/acceptable to feel the whole spectrum of emotions, instead of trying to stay in the ‘positive’ ones all the time and judging ourselves for the ‘negative’ ones like anger, anxiety, sadness, jealousy or disgust.”
Taipa-Area-School-Static-imageComp-1stPlace-EngageAotearoa

 Second Place

Destiny for It Helps to Talk

Judges Notes: “Destiny chose to highlight a message that is central to most effective suicide prevention and mental-health promotion strategies. We liked the idea that a young person chose to share this particular message with other young people. In the words of a young person we met at KiwiFoo Camp in May, “kids are sick of adults telling them what to do”. Here we have a 14 year-old sharing the message that talking helps. We liked how the cup shape suggests sitting down to a cup of tea with someone and the words Destiny chose to fill the cup with might give people a few ideas of who to reach out to. It also says something about the range of people we need to get involved in creating truly supportive communities.”

Taipa-Area-School-Static-ImageComp-2ndPlace-EngageAotearoa

 

5 things I learned about coping with depression in my teens

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Five things I learned about coping with depression as a teenager

Recovery Note #4

~ Emma Edwards


1. It’s okay to not be okay

It is not a weakness to experience depression, anxiety, and other forms of distress as a teenager. It is quite common! Society tells us that we should look and behave in certain ways, and that we have to fit a certain stereotype in order to simply be accepted. I didn’t think it was okay to be struggling with depression when I was a teenager. I thought it meant I was weak and worthless. But admitting that I was not okay and that I did not know who I was took me on a journey of incredible discovery. I came out the other end of the dark tunnel with strength, purpose, and value for my life. I wouldn’t change a thing.

2. Connection is the key

It is incredibly lonely when experiencing depression – and I almost think it is more lonely when you experience depression as a teenager, during the life-stage in which you are trying to figure out how and where you fit in the world. At a time in your life when you are trying to fit in, you fall into a dark hole that isolates you – giving you no opportunity to find your place in the world. I isolated myself and was anxious to interact with anyone. However, the most useful thing for me was the one thing I did not want to do – it was to spend time with friends, family, and people who understood what I was going through.

 

“When you are at the bottom of the dark hole, it feels like every movement causes you to fall deeper. It is extremely difficult to see that each step actually takes you closer to the light of day.”

 

3. Asking for help actually helps!

Looking back, I had friends around me going through similar struggles, and I wanted them to be honest, ask for help, and let me support them. I saw them as courageous when they confronted their fears, darkness, and failures head-on. I learned that it takes more courage to be vulnerable, ask for help, and accept others’ support than it does to wrestle alone in the dark. I learned that friends, family, and professionals actually wanted to help me. Each time that I reached outside of myself and asked for help, my burden was lightened a little bit because it was shared with another. Even if the problem was not solved by the other person, at least I felt more understood, more loved, and less alone.

4. Balance between trust and supervision

I am sure my adolescent self would not admit this, but I’ve learned from looking back at my experience that it was helpful to have a balance of trust and supervision from my parents. I think this balance is largely determined by what is safe for us. As I built up trust with my parents, the amount of supervision I needed decreased. I found that, as my parents trusted me more, I learned to trust myself more – giving me confidence in myself. From my view, the helpful parent provides love, encouragement, support, practical help, and compassionate supervision.Blaming, minimising, or not being taken seriously are not helpful. Being listened to, provided with appropriate help, and shown compassion are essential.

5. It is never the end

There is always hope. I know clichés like “there’s a light at the end of the tunnel” often don’t provide much reassurance at the time, but it turns out they are actually true. When you are at the bottom of the dark hole, it feels like every movement causes you to fall deeper. It is extremely difficult to see that each step actually takes you closer to the light of day. But others can see it. Others can see the bigger picture because they are not in the dark hole with you. In these times, when all hope seems to have escaped you – I learned that I could rely on at least one person around me to hold the hope for me. When I could not see it, they could. When I could not believe, they believed. They held my hope, and gave it back to me when I could hold it again. It is never the end. There is always hope.

 

Emma Edwards
Treasurer, Community Mental-Health Resources Trust

_ _ _ _

About the author: Emma Edwards is currently completing her doctorate degree. She was previously a registered mental-health professional, working in youth and adult mental-health settings. Her own service-user and family experience with mental-health struggles sparked her passion to support others and make a difference to those struggling to cope with difficult times.

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

_ _ _ _

Copyright (c) Engage Aotearoa, 2014

 

Keep Learning with the Updated Online Resources Pack

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In support of this year’s Mental-Health Awareness week theme, ‘Keep Learning’, the team at Engage Aotearoa have added two new pages of links to the Online Resources Pack for you to explore. Find new online sources of distraction/entertainment, self-help tools, information, support and recovery stories – and keep learning for Mental-Health Awareness Week and beyond.

Click here to browse and save a copy of the updated file

New links include…

  • All Right Canterbury
  • Beyond Meds
  • Coming Off
  • Conversations that Matter
  • Depression is Not Your Destiny
  • Everybody
  • Guide to Psychology and its Practice
  • Intervoice
  • Like Minds, Like Mine
  • Male Survivors of Sexual Abuse NZ
  • Mental Health News Hub
  • Mind Share
  • Open Culture
  • Reasons to Go on Living
  • Recovery Notes
  • SPARX CBT Computer Game
  • Support for Parents of Suicidal Teens
  • Support Page for Anxiety Depression and Mental Illness
  • The Depression Center 4.0
  • The Peaceful Parent
  • Worry Wise Kids

Find more Recovery Information Packs on the Engage Aotearoa website.

 

Engage Aotearoa: Update from the Service Director

It’s Mental Health Awareness Week from 6-12 October 2014 and World Mental Health Awareness Day on October 10th.  Seeing as every week is Mental-Health Awareness Week at Engage Aotearoa, now seems like a good time to give everyone an update about what’s on the horizons here.

RecoveryNotesPromo2014Recovery Notes: Recovery Notes is a new series of blog articles by people with lived experience of recovery highlighting the lessons they have learned about or from their experiences. The CMHRT board of trustees are in progress with writing contributions that share the lessons they have learned from their journeys and the first one is out today. If you would like to try your hand at writing a Recovery Notes blog article, submissions are welcome from anyone with lived experience of recovery or being a supporter. Click here to read the Recovery Notes Writing Guidelines first.

Upgrading The Community Resources Directory: Engage Aotearoa went to a LifeHack Weekend earlier this year and got some help to get started with upgrading The Community Resources Directory so you can create a customised directory filled with the services for your region. The web-app is still in development and the volunteer directory editor, Cath, is continuing to add new services to the directory as we work on creating a truly nation-wide resource. You might notice the downloadable document got shorter recently – the team made the font smaller, to fit more on each page, so there’s actually more information listed than there was before. Don’t forget to keep sending your directory additions to Cath by emailing directory@engagenz.co.nz

One Year Anniversary of The Butterfly Diaries Vol 1: It has been one year since the launch of The Butterfly Diaries and the team has distributed over 700 books from Kaitaia to Invercargill and everywhere in between. Copies have been ordered by teenagers for themselves and their friends, worried family members, schools, counsellors, psychologists, psychiatrists, GP doctors, corrections facilities and universities. With no promotional budget and no funding outside of community donations, the team at Engage Aotearoa are pleasantly surprised that so many copies have already found wings. You can help raise awareness of the books by printing and placing a poster somewhere public or sharing one of the book reviews on social media (find them here and here).

The Butterfly Diaries Vol. 2: Engage Aotearoa continues to work on The Butterfly Diaries Volume 2 and it’s very close to publication. Volume 2 shares the stories of Jane and Tess. Jane has a history of difficult family relationships and intense emotions. Tess has a history of childhood trauma, domestic violence and dissociative identity disorder (often known as multiple personalities). Written by  Genevieve McClean and Maureen Irvine,  Between the Sun and the Moon, and Rebuilding Camelot tell two true stories of surviving the hardest parts of humanity and finding a way to thrive despite it all. Engage Aotearoa needs your help to publish The Butterfly Diaries Volume 2 and keep Volume 1 in print. Make a tax-deductible donation for Mental Health Awareness Week.

The Coping Kit Smart Phone App: It’s still coming! Good things take time.

The Butterfly Diaries

The 10th of September was World Suicide Prevention Day. It’s common to have suicidal thoughts. Engage wants to get people talking about how to survive suicidal thoughts and safely support the people they care about. The Butterfly Diaries is part of a mission to make it okay to talk and easier to find help. Engage has a big box of books waiting to be posted out right now.

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.

Visit the Butterfly Diaries Page.

Or if you want to support our work, click here to make a donation to Engage Aotearoa.

Updated Online Resources Pack Now Available

The Online Resources Pack was given an overhaul last week and the latest update is now available on the Information Resources page of the Engage Aotearoa website.

Direct link: www.engagenz.co.nz/downloads/OnlineResourcesPackEngageAotearoa.pdf

What is the Online Resources Pack? 

The Online Resources Pack is an information pack, full of links to web-based resources for mental-health recovery. This includes resources for distraction and entertainment as well as mental-health resources. Roughly 50% of websites sharing information about mental health are funded by pharmaceutical companies and present a bio-medical view of mental health. The Online Resources Pack brings together independent forms of web-based information that share psycho-social and/or lived experience perspectives and tools. The Online Resources Pack is updated on a regular basis. The team tries to check content prior to inclusion, but it is impossible to check every part of every website. If you find something stigmatising in one of the links included in the Online Resources Pack, please get in touch. To contribute content or suggest an edit to the Online Resources Pack, email info@engagenz.co.nz.

What’s New in the 29 November ’13 Update?

  • Content is now divided into sub-sections so it is easier to find what you are looking for. 
    • Distraction/Entertainment/Inspiration
    • Information and Reading
    • Online Self-Help
    • Online Support Groups and Networks
    • Recovery Stories
  • Two new pages of links to explore, including new…
    • CBT resources
    • DBT resources
    • ACT resources
    • Recovery blogs by people with Bipolar Disorder
    • Recovery blogs by people with Borderline Personality Disorder
    • Suicide prevention information
    • International service-user initiatives
    • and more…

The Online Resources Pack is designed to be shared

  • Print a copy and leave it in a public place or give it to someone you know
  • Email the link to your networks
  • Share it on Facebook
  • Share it on your website

How to Share the Online Resources Pack on your Website 

Use the URL below to link to the Online Resources Pack from your own website. http://www.engagenz.co.nz/downloads/OnlineResourcesPackEngageAotearoa.pdf
Using this URL ensures your link will never go out of date. It also allows Engage Aotearoa to track wider community use of the resource and ensures appropriate acknowledgements for the resource.

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.

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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.