Shauni James is a Rotorua Daily Post reporter

Giving back part of Rotorua Mental Health Awareness Week

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Rotorua's Mental Health Awareness Week is now in full swing, with an array of activities planned, including giving back to those who give.

Today's activity was about volunteering, and the focus was on "giving back" to community givers.

Members of the public were encouraged to give back to the Salvation Army and Fulfil Van at the Rotorua Arts Village.

Salvation Army Community Ministries social support worker Suzy King said they saw a lot of mental health issues in different forms such as depression, and it was important people knew there was support out there.

Rotorua Salvation Army corps officer Ralph Overbye said he thought a lot of people felt like they had no hope and for them to be aware there were people out there who could help was important.

Te Utuhina Manaakitanga Trust, an alcohol and drug counselling service, was also at the event and provided a free barbecue.

Linkage community connector and one of the week's co-ordinators Derryn Hyde said the event was about bringing awareness to how community services could not keep giving without community support.

He said one in four people would experience a mental illness so the week was "bringing that awareness back, and breaking down the stigma and discrimination around mental illness".

Many of the activities this week reflect advantages of connecting with nature for good mental health and wellbeing.

The week's activities incorporate the Mental Health Foundation's suggested five ways to well-being which are give, be active, keep learning, take notice and connect.

For more information visit www.mhaw.nz.

- Rotorua Daily Post

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