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There are 26 names already written in black marker on Northlander Kevin Tebbutt's Green GMC pick up truck.

They are the names of people who have struggled with mental health, and the names of people who have lost their lives to suicide.

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Kevin and his daughter Natalia, both from Waipū, are hoping the truck - which they have called The Dump Truck - will eventually be covered in signatures.

"Our idea behind it is to get people talking about mental health and if you've lost someone to suicide write your name on the truck, write their name on the truck, get talking because it's okay to talk about it," Natalia said.

Kevin Tebbutt and daughter Natalia will be taking The Dump Truck out and collecting the names of people who have struggled with mental health, or have lost their lives to suicide. Photo/John Stone
Kevin Tebbutt and daughter Natalia will be taking The Dump Truck out and collecting the names of people who have struggled with mental health, or have lost their lives to suicide. Photo/John Stone

Kevin, a sign writer, knows what it is like to be suicidal.

But on March 13 he received a call from Natalia who told him to watch Jessica's Tree, a documentary directed by Jazz Thornton which examines why her friend Jess took her life in 2015 and what her suicide can teach us, and that's when The Dump Truck idea was born.

"I had a suicide attempt at the beginning of the year and I thought about it two more times seriously and when I thought 'it's only March' I had to figure out for myself what I was doing," he said.

"I watched that documentary and I remember at 3.36am the following morning was my first positive thought of the year and this was it."

Christchurch man Waata Keating has also been travelling the county in his ute collecting the names of people who had taken their lives, but Kevin hadn't heard of that until the Advocate asked if he was inspired by it.

He said he just liked the idea because he related to his truck.

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So last week they got it ready to hit the road and Saturday will be the first time taking it out to collect signatures.

"The amount of stories I've heard last week of depression and suicidal thoughts, and we haven't even got the truck on the road yet," Kevin said.

It is hoped The Dump Truck will encourage people to open up about mental health. Photo/John Stone
It is hoped The Dump Truck will encourage people to open up about mental health. Photo/John Stone

Natalia - who works as the admin, marketing and design coordinator at Morris and Morris Funerals in Whangārei - came up with the name The Dump Truck simply because the truck allowed people to "dump their problems".

There is a casket in the tray of the truck so people can write down their story or their views on mental health and place it inside.

"We've had our own battles and now it's our chance to be the people that start that conversation," Natalia said.

Visit The Dump Truck Facebook page to find out where the truck will be this weekend.