Schools in Whanganui are embracing the Mental Health Awareness Week kaupapa of Reimagine Wellbeing Together - He Tirohanga Anamata.
Mosston Primary School teacher Aimee Loveridge has devised a week of activities and learning based on Māori wellbeing model Whare Tapa Whā.
Taha tinana – physical health, taha whānau – family and social health, taha wairua – spiritual health, taha hinengaro – mental and emotional health and whenua – our connection to the land, our place and our roots are the areas that form the foundations and walls of the whare.
"The most important thing for tamariki to understand is that many things contribute to our wellbeing," Loveridge said.
"If we're caring for each area, our whare is strong and we're likely to have great wellbeing. If we're not feeling our best, we can look at these areas and see which ones we can strengthen."
The week began with children watching the animated video Talking Mental Health designed to encourage children to share their thoughts about mental health.
"The important things to know are that we all have mental health (just like we all have physical health) and there are easy things we can do to look after it," Loveridge said.
"Being with friends, being active, being kind, learning new things, and having people to talk to and laugh with are some good examples."
Whanganui High School has a number of student-led wellbeing activities this week and the staff are not missing out thanks to some fun and healthy teacher-led activities.
Physical education teacher Grant Hardy is encouraging his colleagues to join a "hot stepper" challenge.
"Bring your stepping game and see who can get the most steps for the week," is the instruction.
"Let's see who can get the most steps in 'Steptember'.
For the non-competitive, there are walks aimed to encourage staff to come together while enjoying a bit of exercise during their breaks.
English teacher Lisa Burgess is encouraging her colleagues to bring some "old school" fun.
"We want to see how cute you were, so email a photo of yourself either on your first day of school either at primary or secondary school and we are going to guess who is who."
The week will round off with a Friday shared lunch and there will be random prize draws to celebrate staff.
Whanganui Girls' College is also running a Mental Health Awareness Week programme and Whanganui Māori health and development organisation Ngā Tai O Te Awa is running Whare Tapa Whā based competitions with chances to win prizes on their Facebook page throughout the week.
The Mental Health Foundation has hundreds of free, online resources and activities that range from informative webinars to yoga sessions at mentalhealth.org.nz
The Mental Health Foundation ran the first New Zealand Mental Health Awareness Week in 1993. It is endorsed by the World Federation for Mental Health and is marked in over 150 countries at different times of the year.