Samsung gets behind mental illness – and World's Biggest Waterslide

Jimi Hunt, depression sufferer and creator of World’s Biggest Waterslide, says brand support is crucial to beat the stigma of mental illness and depression

Author, creative and general eccentric innovator Jimi Hunt founded depression charity Live More Awesome to try to give other sufferers the help he didn’t feel he had received while depressed.

He raises money for the charity by doing crazy stuff – like building the world’s biggest waterslide, or travelling by lilo the length of the Waikato River.

But Hunt says it has been hard to find large brands willing to be linked to issues such as suicide and depression.

“We get the feeling a lot of people don’t come on board [with Live More Awesome] because of the stigma surrounding these issues.”

This may be changing, Hunt says. Spark Foundation and the ZM radio network recently came on board as sponsors of the charity, and now Samsung has released an advert of its latest smart-phone release, featuring Hunt’s use of the product in his work for Live More Awesome.

Hunt says it’s “cool” to see a large global brand choosing to associate itself with mental illness fundraising.

 “This shows a massive step forward in reducing that stigma and a bold decision by those at Samsung.

“Brands still sit there and choose sportsmen and musicians to align with what public interest think is ‘cool’ and generally the public don’t think mental health is cool.

“No brand wants to be associated with suicide per se but we are not going to pretend like we are only making a waterslide - we are more about looking after people.”

Hunt’s next world record-breaking waterslide event takes place on March 28-29 in Auckland

See Jimi Hunt at TEDxAuckland