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Blue Stories Project: Canterbury Region

Canterbury

In 2021, the "Blue Stories Project: sharing journeys out of perinatal depression" was initiated in Whakatū Nelson by illustrator and designer, Karolina Gorton, and Perinatal Support Nelson, as an exhibition of portraits alongside inspiring and encouraging stories. In 2022, the Project is expanding its reach nationwide. Canterbury is lucky enough to have two exhibitions, one during Mental Health Awareness Week. The Blue Stories Project in collaboration with Perinatal Wellbeing Canterbury present an exhibition of stories from Cantabrians and original artwork created by Karolina. These will be exhibited from 1pm on the 24th of September to the 21st of October at Christchurch South Library and from the 10th of October to the 6th of November at Tūranga. You are invited to come along and connect with these storytellers and the inspiring stories that so often remain untold.

“...a deeply moving and profound project...” - Rachel Sanson, Nelson City Councillor
“The PND project display stopped me in my tracks today. Ka rawe! Good to see PND in the spotlight, from first person perspective.” - Rosamund Feeney, Community Programme Coordinator

Kaupapa
The Blue Stories Project supports activities that encourage rerekē mō te pai (change for the better) and te kotahitanga i roto i te kanorautanga (unity in diversity). This is a project that creates a culture of supporting ALL women and their families. It educates communities and normalises the topic of PND.

Ngā mihi nui
The Blue Stories Project has been created in conjunction with Perinatal Support Nelson and Perinatal Anxiety & Depression Aotearoa (PADA) and with support from the National Lottery Community Grants scheme. These seven organisations are involved in the project: Well Women Franklin, Perinatal Wellbeing Canterbury, Maternal Mental Wellbeing Marlborough, Central Lakes Family Services, True Colours - Honouring the Mother, Kidz NeedDadz and Little Shadow.

What’s next?
During Aotearoa New Zealand’s Mental Health Awareness Week, the Blue Stories Project is launching a nationwide poster campaign to promote awareness of perinatal depression. Look out for our posters on a bollard near you!

Want to find out more?
Head to www.bluestoriesproject.com to listen to interviews and to see the complete Blue Stories Project exhibition schedule.

Rāhina / Monday

Reconnect with yourself

Connecting with yourself is a skill. To start the week, begin by taking a moment to check in with yourself, acknowledge how you’re feeling and how the last few years of turbulence affected you and your connection with others and the world around you. This is a good time to think about the people you have lost contact with who you might want to reach out to, or the special places you haven’t visited in a while, and set some whāinga/goals for the week ahead.

At the end of the week, you can reflect on how you felt at the start and how reconnecting with the people and places that are special to you has lifted you up.

A few ideas for reconnecting with yourself:

Rātū/ Tuesday

Reconnect with a friend or loved one

We know life can get busy, but feeling connected to the people that are important to us can make a big difference to our mental health. Connection brings purpose and belonging to our lives and makes us feel happier and more secure. Today is about reconnecting with the people in our lives – it could be someone special who you have lost touch with or just wish you caught up with more often.

A few ideas for reconnecting with a friend or loved one:

Rāapa / Wednesday

Reconnect with a special place

The places and spaces we spend our time in have a huge impact on how we feel. Most of us have places we can go that calm, inspire or uplift us. Today, make time to go to a place that is special to you and take notice of how you feel when you are there. For some of us, the special place that comes to mind might be out of reach - perhaps it’s overseas, or too far away to get to. Even if we can’t get there right now, there are ways that we can reconnect with the places that lift us up.

A few ideas for reconnecting with a special place:

Rāpare / Thursday

Reconnect with your community.

Today is about reconnecting with your hapori whānui/wider community. It’s the perfect time to sign up to be a volunteer or join a local community group, but it could also be as simple as making the effort to reconnect with the people you interact with every day. Today is all about savouring the little hononga/connections that make us human.

A few ideas for reconnecting with your community:

Rāmere / Friday

Reconnect with nature

To round out the week, we’re asking you to reconnect with the beautiful taonga that is te taiao/the natural environment. Studies show exposure to nature not only makes us feel better emotionally, it contributes to our physical wellbeing, reducing blood pressure, heart rate, muscle tension, and the production of stress hormones. All the more reason to spend at least a small moment today outside - breathing in some fresh air and noticing the world around you.

A few ideas for reconnecting with nature: