Hamish Williams hosts mental health show The Nutters Club on Newstalk ZB with psychotherapist Kyle MacDonald. Here, he tells the inspiring stories of guests who have featured on the show. Full permission has been given to share these stories with NZ Herald.
Tamsin Wilson is mother to Lena Watt. The seemingly fearless mother and daughter duo have endured much together, the length of New Zealand to be precise. However the origins of this achievement was initially filled with a sense of disorientation as they grappled with how best to move forward after Lena was diagnosed with depression.
Lena had been feeling as though something was "off" since she was at intermediate school, but it wasn't until a formal diagnosis at the beginning of 2021 that either her or her Mum knew what was the cause.
"It took me years to work out there was a problem" recalls Tamsin. "Lena was good at hiding her feelings. It wasn't until early 2021 when I saw she was hardly eating. I thought it might be anorexia but after going to see our doctor she was diagnosed with depression".
Initially Tamsin was devastated. Sixteen-year-old Lena felt relieved. One thing they had in common was they were both on this mental health journey together.
Through exploring ways to counter the depression Lena discovered that walking made a positive impact. "Mum and I were looking for a way to make me feel happy again and after many failed experiments we found that walking made me feel a lot better", explains Lena.
Multiple hikes followed where they both discussed and agreed on the idea to walk the length of New Zealand. In total a 3000km challenge.
"When Mum first suggested I told her she was absolutely crazy" states Lena.
The walk would see them navigate multiple river crossings, encounter a possum capable of opening their backpacks and view first-hand what some of the most picturesque scenery Aotearoa has to offer.
It was here though that serendipity stepped in. Unbeknown to the duo, team leader and former All Black Ian "The Kamo Kid" Jones, was scoping out the Cape for the Hope Challenge, another fund-raising initiative that has nominated I AM HOPE as its charity of choice. Jones will be a team leader for the event in February 2023.
The meeting was emotional for all involved as soon as they realised their shared goal to provide hope for other has led them to be in the same spot at the same time.
Overall Tamsin and Lena both went through three pairs of shoes, raised over $13,000 for I AM HOPE but most of all found a way forward together that at one point has seemed elusive.
As Lena says with great assured certainty, "I'm proud of myself, I never thought before I was diagnosed that I could feel better. I'm not fully recovered but I feel so much better, I feel like there is hope".
• Listen to The Nutters Club with Hamish Williams and Kyle MacDonald, Sundays from 11pm to 1am on Newstalk ZB.