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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.

Diversity pays

Following on from a protest on gender equality at the 2018 Best Awards, the organisers have created a directory that aims to showcase a diverse range of women designers from Aotearoa living anywhere in the world, of all social, cultural and ethnic backgrounds. As well as this, a series of workshops on diversity in design being hosted by DINZ and Design Assembly are about to kick off around the country. We talk with the Designers Speak (Up) founders about the movement to make New Zealand’s design community more inclusive.

Designing for a university

Raph Roake represents one of many young talents in the design community who have won accolades at the 2018 Best Awards. His work, ‘C.O.C.A Exposure Brand Identity and Website’ created alongside fellow students – Luke Hoban and Jeremy Hooper – was awarded two golden pins for student graphic and student interactive. And his solo project, ‘All design is a political act’, gained a silver in student graphic. Since these projects, Roake has stepped inside a few studios – Strategy Creative in Wellington and Inhouse in Auckland – and continues to craft his personal work during his spare time. Roake joins us over a measly cup of coffee to hear about the tensions and learnings from his transition into studio walls.

A bicycle goes eco (more than expected), a VIP room for Heineken gets greenlit, and a New Zealand Opera poster shows flower power. These and more shortlisted as the best of this year's design from down under.