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My experience of bullying

“Sticks and stones may break my bones, but names will never hurt me…”

Even though I repeated this to myself in my head, it wasn’t true. Being called names, being “left out”, approaching groups of girls who stopped talking when I arrived, and not being invited to parties hurt really hurt.

Reflections on Waitangi Day

In consideration of Waitangi Day, our team has been reflecting on what Te Tiriti o Waitangi means to them; both personally and in their work.  As the founding document of Aotearoa, most of us are aware of Te Tiriti, many of us have an understanding of Te Tiriti, and fewer of us understand why this document which is celebrated is also a source of contention.  Below we share the views of two of our team members and encourage others to take the time to reflect on your own views.

Workplace Wellbeing #MHAWNZ

Today marks the start of Mental Health Awareness Week (#MHAWNZ) here in Aotearoa.  Mental health impacts every part of our lives, including in the workplace.  As we generally spend more than a third of our time awake in work-related activities, mental health awareness in the workplace is particularly important.

Pets and wellbeing

There are all sorts of ways to help keep us well - from being active, eating well, and doing meditation, to connecting with others and giving your time.

One thing that helps me are my pets! I have two cats and a dog who bring me immense joy and comfort. There is a lot to be said for the benefits of the human-animal bond. My pets can be a welcome distraction and help reduce my anxiety and stress levels.

The importance of Men's Health Week

Last month we had Men’s Health Week in Aotearoa; a week to celebrate men, and to highlight the challenges men face in terms of their health.  This week often covers somewhat uncomfortable topics like prostate exams (Welcome - Men's Health Week (menshealthweek.co.nz)), that men are more likely to die from cardiac disease and that men are more likely to get diabetes than women.  Men are also less likely to get help for their difficulties than women; meaning that they are less likely to detect problems early and get early intervention.

Digital wellbeing in the workplace: all it's been prescribed to be?

Are digital platforms all they are promised to be?

Digital healthcare and wellbeing platforms have exploded over the last decade so that there now appears to be an app or platform for just about anything. Workplace wellbeing is no exception and in Aotearoa alone, there are several platforms and companies offering wellbeing tools for the workplace.  Here are some important things to consider when exploring different tools, platforms and approaches to wellbeing.

Pink Shirt 2021

Bullying: a significant predictor of poor mental health

Friday 21st of May, 2021 is Pink Shirt Day. A day to recognise the impact of bullying and to help empower people to speak up against bullying. Bullying is a deliberate act with the intention to cause harm to another. Whilst bullying can be a one-off act, it often involves repetitive acts of harm towards another person.  Bullying significantly impacts wellbeing and can increase the risk of suicide through the bullied individual feeling disconnected, ostracised and worthless.

Railway suicides and the role of organisational support

In the past 10 years, 156 people in New Zealand have died in railway fatalities and 60 more have sustained serious injuries [1].  Whilst not all of these are suicides and exact number of railway suicides are not available in New Zealand, suicidal behaviour is a significant contributor to railway deaths and injuries.  In Australia, it estimated that between 150-200 people die by rail suicides per year.

The importance of Transgender Awareness Week

This week (16-22nd of November) is Transgender Awareness Week in Aotearoa: a week to celebrate transgender people and  raise awareness to the issues faced by transgender (trans) people nationwide.

So why do we need to raise awareness?

Pink Shirt Day 2020 and workplace bullying

Today is Pink Shirt Day in Aotearoa – a day celebrated internationally with the aim of raising awareness about the impact of bullying.

Bullying is not just something that occurs in schools and with young people, but also happens across all sectors, age groups, and forums.  Bullying has increasingly been reported in the media and it seems that we are regularly faced with reports about bullying being a triggering factor leading to poor mental health.  As we are more connected to each other than ever before (and potentially more disconnected but that is a topic for another blog), as it becomes the norm to hide behind our keyboards and revel in the distance created by a screen, and as we are encouraged to no longer be “polite, compliant” people but rather be honest and authentic, it creates an environment where people can be less thoughtful in their communication and potentially less concerned about the impact of their words on others.

Recently, increased focus has been placed on the role of mental health in the workplace; recognising both the impact of the burden of mental health on the individual and the organisation and the subsequent stress that workplaces place on their employees.  Within New Zealand, the Health and Safety at Work Act (2015) places responsibility on the employer to protect the health (including mental health) of employees.  However, many organisations believe that such programmes are expensive and that the cost of workplace wellbeing programmes outweighs the benefits.

CASA is privileged to be leading the development and delivery of a free national Bereaved by Suicide counselling service on behalf of the Ministry of Health. We know that the loss of a loved one to suicide has a profound effect on those left behind – whānau and family, friends, schools, workplaces and the wider community.  Many people bereaved by suicide describe the loss of their loved one as a significant life trauma.   Suicide can affect physical, emotional/mental, spiritual and family wellbeing. Support to whānau and family, friends and communities can help reduce these effects and optimise healing.

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