A new All Right? campaign reminds Cantabrians that in tough times we can go through a range of emotions, and in different ways.
All Right? mental health strategist Ciaran Fox says tough times affect each of us differently and we all work through them in our own way and at our own pace.
“It’s all right to feel upset, angry, helpless or on edge following the attack on our Muslim community. These are natural reactions to an extreme and upsetting event,” says Fox.
“Feeling like needing a hug, having a cry and talking it out are natural, healthy reactions. So too is needing to get on with things or taking time out for yourself. They are all important ways we process our experiences.”
The He waka eke noa campaign, meaning - ‘We’re all in this together’, reminds people that we need to be in the same waka, leaving no-one behind. It encourages people to think about where they’re at and that others may be at different stages, feeling and doing different things and that’s all right.
“Many emotions can be brought to the surface following a troubling event. Feeling a range of emotions is natural. Our He waka eke noa campaign highlights some healthy ways people can process what’s happened and look after themselves and those around them.”
Fox says that key to navigating this challenging time is to be aware of how you’re feeling, and to give yourself time to do the things that feel right, such as sharing a cuppa or taking a breather.
“Having ‘big feelings’ is a natural, human reaction to upsetting situations. Letting feelings come and go, and enacting the little ways we know to boost our wellbeing, are important parts of our natural coping mechanisms.”
If feelings of helplessness or sadness are too overwhelming, or you feel like you can’t move on, support is available. You can free call/text 1737, 24-hours a day.
He waka eke noa draws on the skills and knowledge the Canterbury community has built up following the earthquakes, and builds on the incredible amount of kindness and compassion that has been on display since the 15 March attack.
As part of He waka eke noa, from 1 April street posters, corflute signs, washroom posters and 8,000 postcards will be going up across Canterbury. In a departure from previous All Right? campaigns, there will be no paid social media advertising.
“You won’t see any paid adverts on Facebook or Instagram. We’re not funding Facebook’s business model until they agree to do more to prevent offensive material being uploaded and shared across their social media platforms,” says Fox.
Fox says He waka eke noa has been developed to support the mental health and wellbeing of the whole Christchurch population.
“While our pre-testing with some of those most affected by the attack on 15 March has shown the messages are appropriate, there are other supports and services available and being deployed to assist Canterbury’s Muslim community right now.”
All Right? is extremely grateful to those in Canterbury’s Muslim community who have informed the development of He waka eke noa, and to the Mental Health Foundation of New Zealand for helping fund the campaign.