New Zealand mental illness advocates Voices of Hope commended by the Queen

Genevieve Mora and Jazz Thornton.
Genevieve Mora and Jazz Thornton. Photo credit: Points of Light

Two New Zealand mental illness survivors and advocates have been commended for their work by the Queen.

Jazz Thornton and Genevieve Mora founded Voices of Hope in 2014 as a place to provide support and hope to teens struggling with mental illness or losing hope.

Their first campaign 'Dear Suicidal Me' had had more than 800 million views worldwide and they have provided help to many during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The women were awarded the Commonwealth Points of Light award which was created by the Queen, as the Head of Commonwealth, to thank inspirational volunteers for making a difference in their communities.

"Through their leadership, Jazz and Genevieve have been part of the movement that helped push the recent mental health reforms in New Zealand," their award says.

"During the current health crisis, Jazz and Genevieve have continued to engage thousands of young people, helping them combat social isolation through weekly online events featuring leading mental health professionals and advocates."

In a joint statement, Genevieve and Mora said they were honoured to receive the award.

"As two young females who nearly lost our lives to mental illness, now seeing the greater impact we are able to have through our organisation Voices of Hope is overwhelming. 

"Thank you HM The Queen for naming us as a Commonwealth Points of Light. No matter how dark the situation feels, there is always hope." 

Clarke said she was delighted to present them with the award.

"They are two truly inspiring young women, who's work through Voices of Hope is making a real difference for those who have struggled with mental illness. Mā tini, mā mano, ka rapa te whai. Together we are stronger."