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Aug 30, 2016

Students' social venture aims to help teenage males out of depression

Film-maker Taika Waititi and Prime Minister John Key are among a dozen Kiwis who have shared their insights into mental health in a book published by Onslow College students.

30 08 2016

The student business, Resilience, raised $2350 through crowdfunding and other donations to print 700 copies of the book, Overcome, after participating in the Young Enterprise Scheme (YES).

The students hope it will become a useful resource for organisations supporting teenage boys experiencing depression.

Onslow alumni Waititi, who directed Hunt for The WilderpeopleEagle versus SharkBoy and What We Do in the Shadows, related his own experiences with depression in the book.

Often it doesn't help to try and "make" someone with depression talk, he said.

Confidence in decisions is key to handling stresses of the job, says John Key.

"I think the main thing is to make sure they know there are people who care and that you're there if they want to talk."

While he believed depression should be accepted as a normal part of life, he had found exercise was the most help.

That for him included touch rugby and walks on the wild South Coast.

"It blows the cobwebs out. I do feel like people spend too much time inside, in front of computers. 

"I know there are a lot of people with really bad depression who can't even get out of bed, but if you can do it and get out there you will be so much better off.

Key hadn't personally suffered from depression but said he knew how difficult it was, and discussed how he dealt with the large amount of stress in his job.

"If you are confident in the decisions you are making that helps.

"If you have confidence in what you are doing, then you can learn to cope with those situations."

The book includes accounts from people who have lost loved ones to depression.

Resilience member Morgan Thompson, 18, said the student team decided on the venture because there were no real resources for teenage males who were struggling. 

YES Wellington manager Gavin Miller said more school students were choosing set up inventive social enterprises – rather than commercial ones – under the enterprise scheme, which forms part of the NCEA business curriculum.

It was something the non-profit trust encouraged and the next generation of entrepreneurs would be different to some of those that had gone before them, he believed. "Young people are being more conscious about the environment and their communities."

 Article by Tom Pullar-Strecker - Stuff