Mental Health Foundation workers in Christchurch are saturating the city with five posters featuring practical and proven ways Cantabrians can support their own wellbeing and the world around them.
"These messages are just as important as other health messages, like boiling your water," says Freedom Preston-Clark, who manages the Christchurch branch of the Mental Health Foundation. "Mental health needs to be on an equal footing with physical health - that combination is what keeps us all going."
There are five posters in the bill-style series. The messages are:
• CONNECT - Talk and listen, be there, feel connected
• GIVE - Your time, your words, your presence
• TAKE NOTICE - Remember the simple things that give you joy
• KEEP LEARNING - Embrace new experiences, see opportunities, surprise yourself
• BE ACTIVE - Do what you can, enjoy what you do, move your mood
Working on the poster campaign and weaving it into the fabric of other support messages appearing around Christchurch has been a major boost for the Foundation staff, who had to flee their inner city office and run out into the chaos of Latimer Square on the day of the February 22 quake.
With their office building marked for demolition, the staff has been meeting weekly at Preston-Clark's home to keep on with "business as usual".
"At the heart of the messages on these posters is social cohesion," she says. "There's lots being done that wouldn't necessarily be seen as support for mental wellbeing, but are by their very nature contributing to that."
Foundation staff members have been working directly with the New Brighton Project, Volcano Radio, Project Lyttleton, and Women's Refuge.
"These things are not extraordinary, they have become ordinary. In the first few weeks our administrator was feeling lost without operating from an office, so off her own bat she went to the Red Cross and did data entry," says Preston-Clark.
The five ways to wellbeing are signposts for good mental health in a time when many people in the city may be struggling to see the light.
“Connecting is a good example - there has been a huge loss in terms of friends and colleagues moving out of Christchurch. I make an extra effort to keep connected with people in my area at local cafes, street barbeques and local markets."
You can download your own A4-size copies of the posters for your home or work from the Mental Health Foundation website at http://www.mentalhealth.org.nz/page/918-news+coping-after-an-earthquake+weve-got-christchurch-covered.
More photos of the posters up around town can be found here: http://www.facebook.com/album.php?fbid=10150150287733423&id=74410368422&aid=296530