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Cathy Veninga

Creativity < Hope: How creatives are tackling New Zealand's mental health problem

Wellbeing Month

Creativity < Hope: How creatives are tackling New Zealand's mental health problem

When the Government Inquiry into Mental Health and Addiction report was released in December last year, it painted a grim picture. “New Zealand is experiencing a rising tide of mental distress and addiction,” it said. “The cost of poor mental wellbeing and addiction is high. It is a high cost to individuals, families and whānau, businesses and organisations, communities, government and the country as a whole.” While the spotlight has been shone on specific demographics, one sector that is also toiling under pressure is our creative industries. We all know the squeeze of creative work well: late nights, long hours, client demands, unrealistic deadlines, impostor syndrome, self-criticism. This, coupled with the sensitive disposition creative people tend to have, often creates an environment where mental health issues can flourish. However, these people also have a talent for communicating ideas at a time when New Zealand has a base-level awareness of the problem, but not a deeper understanding or the tools to fix it. In part two of a series, Elly Strang talks to the new wave of creators are coming up with inspiring solutions to confront our mental health problem head on.

Wellbeing Month

When the Government Inquiry into Mental Health and Addiction report was released in December last year, it painted a grim picture. “New Zealand is experiencing a rising tide of mental distress and addiction,” it said. “The cost of poor mental wellbeing and addiction is high. It is a high cost to individuals, families and whānau, businesses and organisations, communities, government and the country as a whole.” While the spotlight has been shone on specific demographics, one sector that is also toiling under pressure is our creative industries. We all know the squeeze of creative work well: late nights, long hours, client demands, unrealistic deadlines, impostor syndrome, self-criticism. This, coupled with the sensitive disposition creative people tend to have, often creates an environment where mental health issues can flourish. In part one of a series, Elly Strang looks at the scale of the mental health problem in New Zealand's creative industries.