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Sep 15, 2021

Teens breaking mental health stigma for young people

A group of Manawatū teens want to break the stigma of young people speaking up about mental health.


Freyberg High School students Hayley Searle, 17, Jemma Grant, 17, and Brie McConachy, 18, have started a small business, called Impact, focused on the importance of mental health in teenagers and young adults.

They started it as part of the Young Enterprise Scheme, which helps teenagers start small businesses.

Searle said they wanted to raise awareness and break the stigma because the issue was not spoken about enough and the numbers of people suffering in silence were rising.

She said they wanted to create a community of teenagers who advocated for mental health to comfortably share their experiences and normalise speaking up.

Impact stands for Important Mentalities Portrayed Amongst Choice Teens.

Grant said they went to a Young Enterprise Scheme event last year and started brainstorming ideas of what was important to them.

“All of us have gone through something to do with mental health. We feel it’s not talked about as much as it should be.”

They have created hoodies, bracelets and journals to sell. They could also help put people in touch with counsellors.

“We’ve got to raise awareness about the support they need,” Searle said.

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