A message from Melie

It is so important to be kind because you never know what mental health battles people might be fighting. We need to be empathetic towards each other.

Through the Treading Water series, I have been fortunate to speak to a range of people about their mental health journeys and how they found hope when everything seemed so dark.

I would like to thank everyone involved for their openness and vulnerability in sharing their stories.

To Hamish Johns, it has been a pleasure to work alongside you, putting this all together. You have a real gift, and this project could not have been done without you.

To I Am Hope and Mike King thank you so much for sponsoring these videos and allowing Hamish and I to create something that I believe is going to be extremely powerful. The work you are doing is inspiring and I have been very grateful for this opportunity.

In 2020 I personally faced my own mental health struggles. I was diagnosed with anxiety and depression and had constant panic attacks. I started seeing my psychologist weekly. This helped me to understand the thoughts going through my head. I could speak about past traumas that had caused me grief and I found strategies to help improve my mental health. I slowly started to find myself in a better space.

Then in 2021 it felt like my whole world came crashing down and I hit rock bottom. I was in an inexplicable amount of pain, and I didn’t think it was possible to have felt worse than I did back in 2020. This time I tried to hide it from all the people I love. Eventually it was the people I love who helped pull me out of this storm.

“Mental illness can be invisible, but what i learnt is that you need to talk so you can get the help you need. Sharing your story can help others.”
Photograph by Melie Kerr

The idea behind these videos is to raise awareness and to show people that even if they’re struggling, that there is hope and there is light at the end of the tunnel. People going through this pain feel so alone.

My hope is that these videos shine a light on the fact that you aren’t alone. That there is always hope and someone to help. So please reach out, check in on others, show love, show care and be patient. It is not weak to speak. Let’s normalise the conversation around mental health in Aotearoa and spread the love. 

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