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Stories from others

You are not alone.

A lot of people have been through challenges similar to yours. They have also found many ways to help them feel better. Knowing that someone else can thrive may help you too. Explore what they have experienced and get some ideas on what you can do for yourself and your whānau.

A light house on hill top

Hannah's story

"Depression for me, when I think about it, it was just this absolute greyness. I could go and do something, and I had this awareness that this was a cool thing that I was doing, but it didn’t feel cool. I couldn’t feel that joy or that happiness."

Hannah felt like she didn’t belong. She sought help by reconnecting with people and building her support network to rediscover her sense of joy.

Michelle's story

“And every day, I get to be loved by lots of people and lots of animals. Now I've got a really clear view of who I am and what I want to be and where I want to go.”

Michelle talks about her experience of depression and anxiety while transitioning and overcoming others' views about her gender identity. She supported her recovery by talking to people in her life and helping others through peer support.

Donna's story

“There’s no shame in having post-natal depression or any type of depression. It’s not a sign of weakness or anything. You know, sometimes we go through times in our life where we are vulnerable and we just need a little bit of extra support and help.”

With the support of whānau and strategies from her doctor, Donna was able to process the grief and trauma of her first child’s delivery. After recovering from post-natal depression, she trained as a counsellor, supporting whānau to get through tough times.

Philip's story

“I think what I have been through has made me more courageous. It’s made me more wholehearted, much more empathetic with and for people that find it difficult being in the world, because it’s a difficult world to be in.”

Philip sought help after being harassed and bullied by his neighbour. He worked with a therapist to recognise and talk about his anxiety and create strategies to move forward.

Gabrielle's story

"The depression for me was actually quite confusing because I didn’t obviously know what was going on and didn’t have a way to ask anyone or communicate it."

Gabrielle talks about keeping herself well by having routine and structure in her daily life. When Gabrielle experienced depression, she reached out for help and now supports other autistic people through advocacy.

Gillian's story

“The group therapy was awesome for the fact that it made me realise I’m not alone. That I wasn’t alone, that other people going through this and it’s possible to come out the other side.”

Gillian experienced depression and anxiety throughout her life. She became unable to leave her house after the Christchurch earthquakes. Through receiving support from her family and attending group therapy, Gillian realised she wasn’t alone and it is possible to come out the other side.

Buck's story

“These people are physically sick and mentally sick; they come to us with depression. And this is what we do: we teach them a way out, that there's hope.”

Buck talks about the loneliness and grief he felt after becoming separated from his kids. He talks about staying alive for his kids, and with the support of whānau and friends, he’s been able to recover. Eight years on, he’s helping others get through tough times.

Fia's story

"I’m stronger now, I can speak to my community. There’s always a way through."

Through art, singing, and her church, Fia was able to share the overwhelming sense of loneliness she experienced after losing her grandfather when she was just 11 years old. Reaching out to others helped Fia get back on the path to wellness.

Vito's story

“And it felt like there was a particular type of Pacific kid that I was supposed to be.”

Vito learned to give his mind a break through music. After discovering that he wasn’t the only person feeling out of control and isolated from his culture, he was able to talk about how he was feeling and find ways through.

Damian's story

“By the time it got to third year, I wasn’t talking to my family any more, and I was just basically doing nothing but studying or thinking about studying or getting worried about not studying.”

After moving away for university, studying started to take over Damian’s life. He was able to reconnect with friends and whānau after feeling isolated with support from his university supervisor and student health.

Cultural identity, relationships and success

“You walk into some rooms, and you know you’re just another brown dude … we have heard what you’re probably gonna say before.”

This Fijian and Māori man shares his journey of feeling out of place after returning to Aotearoa. He delves into the complexities of cultural identity, confronting stereotypes, and how these experiences shaped his mental health. Through therapy, humour and his podcast, he finds a voice to express and navigate the challenges he faces, offering a message of resilience and self-discovery.

Vesna's story

“And then one day, my mum comes in the room and just said, ‘What’s wrong?’ So I told my mum and she said the one thing I needed to hear, she said, ‘That’s okay dear; I know what it's like’.”

Vesna talks about her hearing impairment and feeling like she was the only one going through depression. After talking to whānau who have been there, she no longer felt alone. She took up waka ama to support her wellbeing and went on to win a world championship.

Jamie's story

“Another important thing for myself in regards to self-care was connecting with the awa, so to the river, and going regularly down to Ngahuinga.”

When Jamie started to kōrero with others after losing his eyesight and connection to te ao Māori, he found strength. Eye surgery and support from whānau and friends allowed him to carry on his mission to help his community.

Debra's story

“My experience with depression started when I was a teenager, and I was a solo mum.”

After becoming a young mother, Debra felt really alone. She reached out for support in her community and started medication. Over time, she was able to build resilience and take steps towards wellbeing.

Cultural identity and whānau

“I go back to my DNA and my gene pool and all this stuff, and I'm like, man, all that memory trauma stuff. It's real.”

A wahine Māori opens up about her experiences with anxiety and addiction. She talks candidly about overcoming denial and shame and the empowering journey of reconnecting with her roots in te ao Māori. Her story is one of reclaiming identity and finding strength in the principles of Te Whare Tapa Whā.


Connection, motherhood and the environment

“Most times being in nature was able to calm me just by listening to the ocean or trees rustling. It has always been a good reset for me and a place I did my loudest crying.”

A wahine Māori discusses her experiences with anxiety and the challenges of motherhood. She finds solace and hope in her connections with whānau, friends and the natural world, highlighting the power of the environment as a source of healing and rejuvenation.

Whānau and connection

“I did not like myself then unless I was drunk.”

A Māori man reflects on his past filled with strained family relationships and how alcohol became his coping mechanism. His healing process involved finding treatments that resonated with him and rebuilding the bonds with his loved ones, illustrating a path of self-acceptance and renewed connections.

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