Mental Health Awareness Week looks back at 2020

The popular Wellbeing Photo Challenge is back with a new theme each day, and a grand prize of a Nikon camera. Photo: Supplied.

Mental Health Awareness Week this year will be acknowledging the tough year Kiwis have faced so far.

There’s just over a week to go until Mental Health Awareness Week – MHAW-  kicks off across New Zealand on September 21.

Close to 10,000 workplaces, communities, whānau, schools and kura are gearing up to ‘Reimagine Wellbeing Together – He Tirohanga Anamata’.

Mental Health Foundation - MHF - chief executive Shaun Robinson says the theme of the week acknowledges that this year has not been an easy one.

“Many of us have had to reconsider the experiences, actions and surroundings that make us feel good, stay well, and uplift our wellbeing,” says Shaun. “Restrictions on living have presented challenges for many of us – and opportunities too.

“I’m hearing from New Zealanders about the good things they’re doing to acknowledge their own mental wellbeing right now. We want to learn more about the simple, everyday things you’ve done this year to look after yourself and your whanau.”

Shaun acknowledges that everyone goes through ups and downs in life – that’s a completely normal part of being human. He says sometimes our sense of wellbeing might feel strong, sometimes not, and that’s OK.

“Wellbeing is for everyone and isn’t just for people who’ve experienced mental illness. One in five Kiwis experience a mental illness each year and it’s important to remember that with the right tautoko/support many people can and do live well with mental illness.”

The daily themes of MHAW this year are inspired by Māori health model, Te Whare Tapa Whā, designed by leading Māori health advocate and MHF patron Sir Mason Durie.

Activities include the Wellbeing Photo Challenge with prizes up for grabs; a colouring competition for tamariki/children, which is a chance for them to creatively reimagine their wellbeing by drawing the things that make them feel good; a calendar of events showcasing a variety of activities happening across the motu/country and resources are available to download and order for free.

“MHAW is a great opportunity for us to reflect on the simple but powerful things we can all do every day to maintain our wellbeing. Remembering and practicing what got us through tough times before can help us build resilience for when times are more challenging,” says Ministry of Health Mental Health and Addiction Deputy Director General Robyn Shearer.

There’s still time to register for MHAW that runs from September 21 -27,  to receive ideas on how to get involved in the week, see what events are happening in your local area and receive the latest news:

The popular Wellbeing Photo Challenge runs from September 21-25, and there is a new theme each day. There are daily prizes, and the grand prize is a Nikon camera worth $1,899.

People can order or download free MHAW resources from

If posting to social media, people are encouraged to use the hashtags #MHAWNZ #ReimagineWellbeingTogether #HeTirhangaAnamata

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