Stratford War Memorial Hall was packed last Thursday as 800 people came to listen to Nigel Latta.

The popular New Zealand author and psychologist was in town to talk about mental health, at an evening event organised by Central Taranaki Safe Communities Trust (CTSCT).

CTSCT chair Danny Bates says the event was successful.

"Nigel spoke during Mental Health Week so it was a timely event. It is important that not only Stratford but Taranaki, New Zealand and the world talk about mental health. It's important to talk about."


Danny says 800 people attended the evening and those sitting at home watched the live stream.

"It's a massive event and free for the community."

The Safe Trust motto is to make Central Taranaki a safe place to live work and play, Danny says.

"And we will continue to do that. There was a national needs assessment done and mental health was addressed as a national issue. We're doing our bit to help."

For those who couldn't attend the night, Nigel Latta had three top tips for dealing with mental health.

"If you're worried about someone, ask them if they're doing all right. If you're worried about them harming themselves ask them and if they say yes, don't freak out listen to them. And lastly, help them get help, be a bridge and go with them when they're seeking help."

Nigel says he has visited Stratford a few times.

"It's a nice little town with nice surroundings. Stratford also has good resources for getting help."


Nigel says it's also important to follow guidelines to ensure suicide is talked about safely.

"The key message for safety is you don't want to focus on someone who has committed suicide. It gives people something to identify with. You want to talk about what helps."

Nigel also says it's important to know that having thoughts about self-harm doesn't make a person abnormal.

"Don't freak out about having thoughts about harming yourself. Lots of people have thoughts about it. It's acting on those thoughts which is the problem. Having those thoughts is your brain telling you to find someone you trust and get help."

Nigel says it is also important for people to know what resources are available and who they can talk to.

Where to get help:
Suicide Crisis Helpline - 0508 828 865
Lifeline _ 0800 543 354
Depression Helpline (8am to 12 midnight) - 0800 111 757
Healthline - 0800 611 116
Youthline - 0800 376 633, free text 234