MASTERING MENTAL HEALTH

Providing young people with the skills and knowledge to recognise and respond to mental health issues both in themselves and others.

Mitey: Building the Mightiest kids in the world.

We are excited to introduce Mitey – an evidence-based, NZ school wide approach to teaching mental health education to children in Years 1 to 8.

Mitey is our response to the alarming number of children experiencing mental health issues in New Zealand. One in five will experience mental health issues before they turn 18.

Even those who are otherwise happy, will need skills and knowledge to successfully deal with pressures related to peers, family, relationships, and their place in the world.

At the Foundation we believe that embedding mental health education in both teaching and learning will play a key part in turning our mental health statistics around.

We want to ensure schools have the resources and support they need to equip future generations of New Zealanders with the ability to safeguard and nurture their own mental wellbeing while helping others do the same.

CHANGING THE CONVERSATION AROUND MENTAL HEALTH

Learning

We believe learning about mental health is as important as learning to read and write

Raise Hands

We believe positive mental health is not extracurricular and can be taught within the NZ Curriculum

Stigma

We want to remove the stigma surrounding mental health

Recognise

We want children to recognise key signs and feel comfortable seeking support if they need it

CHANGING THE CONVERSATION AROUND MENTAL HEALTH

Learning

We believe learning about mental health is as important as learning to read and write

We believe positive mental health is not extracurricular and can be taught within the NZ Curriculum

We want to remove the stigma
surrounding mental health

We want children to recognise key signs and feel comfortable seeking support if they need it

from our FOUNDER

SIR JOHN KIRWAN

“Anxiety and depression used to overwhelm me. If I had grown up learning at school what good mental health looked like, and that it was OK to talk about the feelings I had, I wouldn’t have beaten myself up so much and my personal journey to wellness wouldn’t have been as lonely or as hard.

I’ve been at the forefront of mental health awareness for 15 years and I’ve watched our suicide and mental health statistics head in the wrong direction.

I established the JK Foundation because I want New Zealand to have the best mental health in the developed world. To do that, we must provide children with consistent opportunities to practice and learn good mental health skills everyday at school, Mitey does just that.

It’s a proven approach to educating NZ children around all aspects of mental health so they are well positioned to deal with life when it gets tough. And that’s exciting.”

THE STORY

BEHIND THE DOG

The Black Dog is a well-known metaphor for depression and the process one goes through to tame it. Our dog has been turned into a stylised balloon animal reflecting the idea that we can be in control of and manage our mental health. The balloon dog features as a brand for both the Foundation and Mitey, linking the two together.

Our wooden dogs, designed and produced locally, are a symbol of support which can be used by young people as a signal when they or someone they know aren’t able to speak about how they are feeling. We want our dog to become their voice so they can always ask for help.

Removing the stigma around mental illness is fundamental to helping young people, and turning the Black Dog from something to be feared to something to be mastered, managed and controlled is an intrinsic part of our story.

SIR JOHN KIRWAN FOUNDATION

WHAT WE ARE DOING

We have worked with a range of experts and consulted international advice to ensure Mitey is relevant to a New Zealand school setting and offers a proven approach to teaching mental health education in New Zealand primary and intermediate schools.

We engaged the University of Auckland’s Faculty of Education and Social Work to develop a framework for mental health education together with an extensive range of resources which can be accessed by schools via an online hub.

Experienced teachers have been employed as Foundation coaches. They work with each school to offer a high level of free support and to tailor Mitey’s approach to fit the specific needs of the school and its community. The coaches also provide professional development and ongoing assistance to teachers.

In 2020, we ran trials in schools. In 2021 Mitey will be supported by a robust evaluation process. Hundreds of New Zealand teachers and children are already embracing Mitey in their schools.

Learn more about Mitey and how to become a Mitey school.

NEED HELP NOW?

The Sir John Kirwan Foundation is not a clinical service.  We are not able to provide emergency support or counselling services.  To access these please see below.

If you are worried about your or someone else’s mental health, please visit your local GP or free call or text 1737 to talk to someone for advice and support.

If you are concerned about someone’s immediate safety contact your local health services.

Or if you or someone else is in danger or at risk of endangering others, call the Police immediately on 111

There are a number of great New Zealand and International websites that provide useful information and support to manage your own mental health and wellbeing, and that of others.  Click below to check them out.

PARTNERS

Thank you to our partners

The generous support of our partners allows us to do the work we are doing. Our heartfelt thanks to each of you.

KEY PARTNER

TRUST & GRANT PARTNERS

BUSINESS PARTNERS

SIR JOHN KIRWAN FOUNDATION © 2018