The Will to Live charitable foundation is launching a regional New Zealand tour to encourage farmers to talk about mental health.

The 'Speak Up Tour' aims to provide on-going awareness and education to vulnerable young rural New Zealanders, who are often isolated from essential mental health services.

Elle Perriam founded Will to Live after she lost her partner to suicide in 2017.

As he was a North Otago shepherd, Perriam was determined to spread a positive message of gratitude to encourage resilience using her late partner's black huntaway, Jess, as a symbolic reminder of the need to 'Speak Up' collectively.

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Listen to Jamie Mackay's interview with Elle Perriam's sister Sarah on The Country below:

The name of the organisation was a poignant way of reminding often isolated young rural people what their 'will to live' was on a regular basis. For many, it may be their beloved working dogs.

About the event

On the 2019 Speak Up Tour, Perriam, Jess and many inspirational local and national speakers will host a casual evening of talks and tips on the topic of getting through the tough times on your own when help might not be near, and how to navigate the storms together as a community.

Bring your 'Will to Live'

Farmers are encouraged take part in the powerful 'Speak Up', with hundreds of dogs kicking off the night at the venue from 6.30pm.

There will be a moment of silence for those that have lost the battle of depression and then a 'bark up' in unison to break the silence.

A group photo will then be taken as a memento for their community, and as a reminder of collective strength.

The funds raised from 'Will to Live'

Funds raised by the 2018 PledgeMe campaign of over $18,000, plus considerable philanthropic donations since, have helped cover the major event and travel expenses of the 2019 Speak Up Tour.

Each event is ticketed at $10 or a Koha (donation) on the door, which includes a supper and live music entertainment as well.

A charity auction will take place thanks to the kind generosity of local community businesses with all funds going to the Will to Live charitable trust, which looks towards the planning of 2020 tour focused on improving the education of farm managers/owners on the wellbeing of their young employees.

Buy tickets here and check out the Facebook event.

Will to Live's 2019 Speak Up Tour - dates and venues
NORTH ISLAND

Wednesday, 26 June 2019 - GLADSTONE SPORTS COMPLEX, WAIRARAPA

Thursday, 27 June 2019 - PONGAROA HOTEL, TARARUA

Friday, 28 June 2019 - TOKO HALL, STRATFORD, TARANAKI

Saturday, 29 June 2019 - Roselands Restaurant & Bar, WAITOMO, WAIKATO

Thursday, 29 August 2019 - UTIKU RUGBY CLUB, TAIHAPE

Friday, 30 August 2019 - PUKETAPU, HAWKES BAY

Saturday, 31 August 2019 - PATUTAHI, GISBORNE

SOUTH ISLAND

Wednesday, 17 July 2019 - MACKENZIE RUGBY CLUB, FAIRLIE

Friday, 19 July 2019 - CHEVIOT TRUST HOTEL, CHEVIOT

Saturday, 20 July 2019 - WOODBOURNE TAVERN, RENWICK

Wednesday, 24 July 2019 - LINCOLN UNIVERSITY DINING HALL, LINCOLN

Friday, 26 July 2019 - SAMUELS BAR, METHVEN

Wednesday, 31 July 2019 - SOUTH OTAGO TOWN & COUNTRY CLUB, BALCLUTHA

Thursday, 1 August 2019 - WINTON MEMORIAL HALL, SOUTHLAND

Friday, 2 August 2019 - LAKE HAWEA HOTEL, CENTRAL OTAGO

Saturday, 3 August 2019 - KUROW HOTEL, NORTH OTAGO

Where to get help:
Rural Support Trust: 0800 787 254
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 (1pm to 11pm)
Depression helpline: 0800 111 757 (available 24/7)

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