Mental health awareness week 2020

2020 has brought about a new set of challenges in keeping ourselves and each other healthy, both physically and mentally, throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. I have personally been a long time advocate of mental health issues, having studied Psychology in my first degree, before studying Engineering. I have previously volunteered with Victim Support and seen first-hand some pretty confronting examples of how events around us can cause a wide range of reactions.

This year, our team at Abley observed Mental Health Awareness Week (21-27 September) in alignment with the Te Whare Tapa Whā holistic health model,  which I learnt about during my time with Victim Support. This model connects the physical and non-physical aspects of health to imagine wellbeing through not just our immediate circumstances but rather a connectedness between our physical health, mental and emotional state, spirituality, and family and social connections, each contributing to overall health. This is how we spent time revitalising our awareness of each of these facets of health:

Te Taha Wairua – Spiritual Wellbeing

We participated in a lunchtime yoga and guided meditation session.

Te Taha Tinana – Physical Wellbeing

Our Christchurch team took a walk around Hagley Park, and our Auckland team walked up the hill to Albert Park. Those of us working from home stretched our legs for a walk around our local neighborhood!

Whenua – Connection to Land and our Roots

We had the opportunity to bring in plate of food to share from our diverse cultural backgrounds.

Te Taha Hinengaro – Mental and Emotional Wellbeing

Jo Fife from Workplace Wellbeing ran a workshop on understanding stress and wellbeing in the workplace, as well as a Stress Quiz to gauge our personal stress levels.

Te Taha Whānau – Family and Social Wellbeing

Each of our teams were invited to a social lunch out at a local restaurant (observing any physical distancing requirements!)

Holistic health model

Being aware of our mental health is much more than just one week of the year – staying healthy is a constant challenge for many people in all walks of life, and while progress has been made, there is still stigma and misunderstanding attached to mental illness and mental wellness.

At Abley, we have several staff trained in Mental Health First Response (recognising signs of distress and understanding the resources available to help us in such circumstances). The best thing we can all do is understand that nobody is perfect and mental health is equally as important as physical health. My advice would be that if you think somebody you know might be having a tough time, it is always best to reach out early and offer help.

For more information on Te Whare Tapa Whā:

Visit this website

Mental Health Foundation:

Free phone or text counselling or peer support, call or text 1737 any time: