Engage Aotearoa

Tag Archives: Far North

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.”
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 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.”

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Far North Services Added to Community Resources Directory

Mental-health recovery resources from the Far North were added to most sections of the Community Resources Directory on the Engage Aotearoa website on the 1st of March.

The directory is now nearly 70-pages long and the Far North sub-sections include services from Whangarei, Kerikeri, Kaikohe, Dargaville, Kawakawa and Kaitaia that can be used to promote recovery, including creative connections, psychologists and counsellors, support services and more. 

If you spot something missing or have information to fill in the many gaps, please contact info@engagenz.co.nz.  

Press Release: Details Confirmed for Mike King’s Community Korero and Kaitaia College Seminars

Press Release: Engage Aotearoa & Key to Life Charitable Trust

For Immediate Release | 20 Feb 2013

Mike King Visits Kaitaia to Throw Solutions at Suicide 

Popular comedian and radio talk-show host Mike King will visit Kaitaia on the 5th and 6th of March for a series of seminars to reduce suicide in the Far North. On the evening of the 5th, King will lead a Community Korero at Te Ahu, accompanied by musician Ruia Aperahama (What’s the Time Mr Wolf, Southside of Bombay, Songs from the Inside). The following day, King and Aperahama will present two seminars for junior and senior students at Kaitaia College, called It’s Cool to Korero.

In It’s Cool to Korero, King will talk with Kaitaia College students about how he survived growing up. Mike’s is the story of a kid who wanted to fit in. It is about wanting to be part of the cool group but being 4’11 with buck teeth and big ears and needing a miracle to make it happen. Then one day he discovered he had a gift to make people laugh and he went from being bullied, to being liked and then many years later becoming a bully himself. Mike will share tips on how to deal with bullies and also why bullies do what they do. Most of all, he will speak about why it is important to talk rather than “have conversations with yourself.”  King says his main point is that “in life there will always be hurdles and heartbreak, but with perseverance, support and an attitude of hope, great things will happen.”

Mike King’s Community Korero will take place at Te Ahu from 6 – 8 pm on Tuesday the 5th of March. Entry is free and all are welcome. At the Community Korero, King will speak about his battle with depression, addiction and his ongoing journey back to recovery, including the mistakes he made along the way and the things that made a difference. He will discuss the things he learnt from the hard times and how all those mistakes were blessings in disguise. Both talks will be followed by an opportunity to ask questions and share strategies. This is a not-to-be-missed chance for the community to come together and explore how to support our rangatahi and each other to survive and thrive. Stacks of useful free resources will be available for community members to take away for later use. King says, “It is time to stop throwing negatives at the problem of suicide and time to start throwing positives at a solution!”

This initiative was organised by ex-Kaitaia College student, Miriam Larsen-Barr, who operates a mental-health promotion project called Engage Aotearoa and is currently completing a doctorate in clinical psychology in Auckland. Visiting home for the summer, Larsen-Barr was struck by how many sad stories and suicides had happened in the community in the past year.  Larsen-Barr says “I do all this work in other places to promote helpful ways of thinking about mental-health problems and make it easier to approach recovery. It seemed wrong to come home to holiday and not share those resources with the town that grew me.

Mike King is best known for his role as a comedian and host of the Radio Live talk-show The Nutters Club. But King is also involved in The Key to Life Charitable Trust, an organisation that aims to achieve a zero suicide-rate in New Zealand.  King and Larsen-Barr met through their shared passion for preventing suicide (both have been working on projects to tell people’s recovery stories) and when King received the call to make a difference in Kaitaia, he leapt at the chance. King and Aperahama are both donating their time to the cause, The Mental-Health Foundation of NZ is providing additional take-home resources and local organisations Te Runanga o Te Rarawa and The Beachcomber Restaurant have sponsored the initiative to ensure it goes ahead.

More information can be found on Engage Aotearoa’s Mental-Health News and Events Blog at http://www.engagenz.co.nz/?p=3989

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