Connecting with their communities for mental health

    Active Southland staff Jared Cappie (left), Jess Domigan and Cougan Bean are delivering physical activities throughout the region today. Photo: Karen Pasco

    COMMUNITY, activity and connectivity are themes of focus this Mental Health Awareness week in Southland.

    Running until Sunday, Kaituao o te Taitonga Volunteer South saw the week as an opportunity to gain an understanding of the benefits volunteering could have.

    Volunteer South chief executive Lynda Marnie said volunteering ticked all the boxes when it came to improving well-being.

    “Volunteers give their time, sharing skills, energy, ideas and passion with local non-profit organisations that reap the benefits of their enthusiasm.

    “For volunteers, they gain a sense of purpose, life satisfaction and increase their self-esteem and overall happiness.”

    It also helped to connect people with their community, and improve volunteers’ sense of belonging, as well as learning new skills.

    The entity worked to connect those wanting to volunteer with meaningful roles in their area.

    Active Southland is also involved in the week, offering a range of activities designed to help get the community moving, and ultimately, improving mental health.

    It stressed the importance of physical activity for good mental health.

    Today, the organisation would hold free, drop-in activities.

    Active Southland general manager Jess Domigan said being involved in Mental Health Awareness Week was part of the regional sports trust’s pledge to supporting the well-being of the whole Southland community.

    “It really has been a fairly rocky 18 months and we know that it has been a real struggle for our community, so let’s take this time to have some fun.”

    Events will be held throughout the region, and more information could be found on its website.

    Southland’s Loss and Grief Centre was asking southerners to take a moment for themselves this week.

    Centre founder Caroline Loo said she loved this year’s theme, ‘Take Time to Korero’.

    “I know that when I have a chance to share what’s going on in my life, it always makes me feel like I can face it a bit better.”

    There was a lot of healing when people talked through their struggles, she said.

    She explained when we processed things in our own minds, it could only be done to a certain level, but talking it over with others pushed the process along.