Change Wars – Kath Curran
Napier Family Centre’s annual appeal is Jeans Day and we are grateful for the workplaces all over the region that support our cause by making a donation and ditching their suits and skirts in favour of denim. This will be my 14th Jeans Day and like any anniversary it sparks some reflection. There have definitely been years that I have felt more ‘jeansilicious’ but the one constant is the enjoyment of connecting with the community as we collect not just donations but stories of impact.
This appeal week is often the time that we find out how a service at the Family Centre has contributed either recently or at some time over the 30+ years to the wellbeing of a child, adult, couple and family, or being a support through a difficult time.
We’ve changed it up this year and Jeans Day Change Wars is putting out a more direct challenge to help us help children fighting mental health issues. We’ve been treated to fantastic art by children and youth 2yrs – 16yrs old for the posters.
We have to get fierce, as a community, in our resolve to combat the issues that risk poor mental health in our children and our youth. As a not for profit service we rely on donations and philanthropic grants to provide free or subsidised counselling over and above the limited funding we get from MSD for this work with children or families that care for vulnerable children.
Children and young people make up a quarter of our counselling clients with over 185 young people and their parents/caregivers seeing our therapists to work through the harm caused by trauma, depression, anxiety, grief. Self-harming, bullying, risk-taking, violence, grief from loss and separation, are not uncommon themes when discussing children’s mental illness. Seeing children’s ways of communicating their hurt, frustration, anger and sadness as just being behavioural problems to ‘fix’ can add to the feelings of shame and isolation that young people describe when hurting and this can prevent young adolescents from accessing help. The acting out stuff is important information children are expressing.
The aim of our campaign is to get talking more about ways that support mental health. Research shows that attending to mental health issues early reduces the risk of safety concerns and suicide.
So our call to action this year is to join us for Jeans Day Change Wars and choose a battle to help us win the ground for children’s mental health and wellbeing. Challenge your team-mates, take on your head office, go branch against branch or see if a competitor will answer the call to match or beat your efforts.
A great excuse to dress casual while getting serious with your workplace colleagues about our children’s health!