Mental Health Awareness in NZ

Did you know that nearly 1 in 4 Kiwi adults report experiencing poor mental wellbeing? This makes up a significant percentage of our workforce in NZ. This means that there is a good chance that you or someone you work with is struggling with or at some stage has struggled with their mental wellbeing.  

There are some pretty shocking stats that show how mental health and wellbeing affects Kiwis:

  • Last year over 654 New Zealanders died by suicide
  • The construction industry has the highest rate of suicide, followed by farming and forestry. 
  • Construction workers are five times more likely to die from suicide than an accident at work
  • 1 in 5 New Zealanders will experience mental illness in their lifetime. 
  • 1 in 7 will experience depression.

We are increasingly more aware that Mental Health and wellbeing is a serious issue that affects so many of us. When people are struggling with their mental health and going through a rough time it can be hard for them to seek help or talk about it. We can lookout for our friends and colleagues because we know there is a good chance that at least one of them may need someone to talk to. Poor mental health and well-being come in many shapes and sizes but there are some common signs to look out for. It typically looks like a change in behaviour rather than a one-off incident or if they are just ‘having a bad day’. If you see any of these signs or changes in behaviour it might be time to reach out to your friend or workmate :

  • A talkative or sociable person pulling away or isolating themselves
  • Normally relaxed or easy going but now are agitated or aggressive.
  • Coming in to work late or not at all
  • Finding it hard to cope with day to day things
  • Finding it hard to concentrate or finish tasks.
  • Using alcohol and/or drugs to cope

If you see these signs your friend or workmate might need a helping hand. They might need you to check in on them and see how things are going. This can be hard and scary if you don’t know what you are doing when dealing with mental health and wellbeing. Reaching out to someone who is struggling can be the first step towards getting them the help that they need. You don’t have to be an expert, you just have to be a friend. 

Fortunately for us in NZ there are so many organisations that exist solely to help people with their mental health and well being. If you see someone struggling, encourage them to get in touch with one of these organisations for more help. If you need more guidance in dealing with the situation you can call too. Here is a some of the places (there are more) you can contact if you or a friend are struggling with mental health:

  • Mates in Construction – 0800 111 315
  • Lifeline – 0800 543 354
  • Depression Helpline – 0800 111 757
  • Healthline – 0800 611 116
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