Young rural men target of mental health campaign

The loss of a loved one to suicide became the inspiration behind a mental health awareness campaign aimed at young men in the rural sector.

The 'Will to Live' campaign is the brainchild of 20-year-old Lincoln University student Elle Perriam.

Her 21-year-old boyfriend Will committed suicide last year, one of the growing number of New Zealanders' who are taking their own lives. 

He worked as a shepherd in North Otago.

Young rural men target of mental health campaign

Ms Perriam told RadioLIVE's Rural Exchange there were no warning signs.

"The idea came after we lost Will last year in December, and without any signs, we were devastated,"

"We put our heads together and thought what is this demographic not getting out of the mental health system?" she said.

The campaign has been launched in memory of Will, the young shepherd who took his own life.
The campaign has been launched in memory of Will, the young shepherd who took his own life. Photo credit: Supplied.

As part of the campaign, the 'Speak Up' tour will visit ten towns and rural centres holding evenings with experts and those who have experienced depression.

Ms Perriam has launched a fundraising campaign through Pledge Me to help with the tour.

The campaign will also include a 'bark up' at the Hunterville Huntaway Festival later this month, which will see over 150 huntaway dogs encourged to bark at once.

The 'bark up' is being seen as a metaphor for the message about speaking up when you need help.

The mascot of the campaign is Will's black huntaway dog Jess.

Watch the full interview with Elle Perrium above.

Rural Exchange with Hamish McKay, Sarah Perriam and Richard Loe, 5-7am Saturday and Sunday on RadioLIVE with Carter's Tyre Service. Click here for all the ways to watch and listen.

Young rural men target of mental health campaign

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