Vaimoana Tapaleao is the New Zealand Herald's Pacific Affairs and People reporter.

Kiwi duo spreading message of hope to young mental health sufferers

Genevieve Mora and Jazz Thornton founded Voices of Hope to offer advice and help to kids with mental health issues. Photo / Supplied
Genevieve Mora and Jazz Thornton founded Voices of Hope to offer advice and help to kids with mental health issues. Photo / Supplied

Having hope can be a powerful tool - especially when you are young. But being a voice of hope can be even stronger and more effective to get a message to those who need it.

Two young Aucklanders will get the chance to spread more of their message of hope after receiving $30,000 in Jetstar's Flying Start grant programme.

Jazz Thornton and Genevieve Mora make up Voices of Hope - a not-for-profit organisation helping young people dealing with mental health issues. The grant will go towards funding a nationwide tour of schools.

Established in 2014, the idea for their new venture came after the sudden death of one of their friends. "The death of our best friend opened our eyes to the issue of mental health in New Zealand," Thornton said.

"We launched Voices of Hope as we saw a real need to make a change and wanted to create something that was easily accessible and, most of all, supportive to all young Kiwis struggling to find hope while dealing with mental health challenges."

The Voices of Hope website features video of several young people sharing stories about the kinds of struggles they have faced in life.

Among those is former Shortland Street star Sophie McIntosh, who played Honour Aleni.

Mora said many were facing a battle of their own, whether from everyday struggles to deeper issues such as depression.

"We want to challenge the stigma around mental health by providing hope and connecting all Kiwis," she said.

"We're extremely grateful to have Jetstar give us the chance to encourage this conversation further."

Jetstar Australia and NZ chief executive Dean Salter said they were impressed by the pair's passion and determination to help make a positive change.

Where to get help

• Lifeline: 0800 543 354 (available 24/7)

• Suicide Crisis Helpline: 0508 828 865 (0508 TAUTOKO) (available 24/7)

• Youthline: 0800 376 633

• Kidsline: 0800 543 754 (available 24/7)

• Whatsup: 0800 942 8787 (Mon-Fri 1pm-10pm. Sat-Sun 3pm-10pm)

• Depression helpline: 0800 111 757 (available 24/7)

• Rainbow Youth: (09) 376 4155

• Samaritans: 0800 726 666

If it is an emergency and you feel like you or someone else is at risk, call 111.

- Herald on Sunday

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