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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.