Attending the opening of the expanded Tuhauora – Christchurch Central Service last month cemented for me the success of this valuable initiative. The mental health and addiction services resource centre was opened two years ago by then Health Minister Jonathan Coleman and was led by the Odyssey House Trust. I took up the opportunity at the opening of the expanded services to follow through with a visit to Odyssey House to see in person, as Spokesperson for Mental Health, how the organisation changes lives. The visit has strengthened my belief that we need a cross-party, adaptive approach to mental health that is responsive to continually changing needs.
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The Christchurch MultiCultural Festival and celebration of Buddha’s birthday at the Fo Guan Shan Buddhist Temple in Christchurch in April presented a colourful display of Canterbury’s diversity. I enjoyed speaking at the event and meeting the people behind the work of the Buddha’s Light International Association, which runs humanistic programmes all over the world.
Catching up with Blair Benefield as he travelled through Waimakariri electorate on his fundraising journey for youth mental health and suicide prevention and veteran support services was an inspiration. Blair contacted me after hearing about my mental-health event to share his work in connecting with our youth to spread awareness. The ex-soldier is skateboarding the length of New Zealand to raise funds and awareness, and you can follow his journey at https://www.facebook.com/captainradnessNZ/?fref=mentions