My name is Rachael and I work at the Mental
Health Foundation of New Zealand and I lead a campaign called Pink Shirt Day.
Pink Shirt Day is an annual bullying prevention campaign run by the Mental Health Foundation
of New Zealand. The Mental Health Foundation has run the campaign
since 2012 but it’s actually a global campaign that’s celebrated all over the world. It’s
celebrated in places like Japan and Croatia, and also Canada because it started in Canada
in 2007 The background behind the whole campaign is
that two Canadia high school students wanted to stop homophobic, transphobic and biphobic
bullying so they asked a whole lot of their peers to wear pink t-shirts the next day.
In New Zealand, Pink Shirt Day works to increase aroha, kindness and inclusion, and end bullying.
It’s objective is to build awareness of the impact bullying has on people’s mental
health and wellbeing. Our aim is to support workplaces, schools,
communities and whanau to celebrate diversity and be safe, supportive and welcoming of everyone.
In New Zealand we know that our rainbow community or LGBTQIA plus communities experience higher
rates of bullying than anyone else in New Zealand. Mental health problems can affect a person’s
work and cause substantial costs to organisations, and workplaces have a legal responsibility
to manage risks to mental health and wellbeing Many studies show that tamariki and rangatahi
who are bullied are more likely to experience mental health issues, such as depression,
anxiety and even suicidal thoughts. This can impact on their learning, relationships and
ability to feel good about who they are, and can lead to poor mental health and wellbeing.
One of the things we really encourage is for people to be “Upstanders”. An Upstander
is a supportive bystander that uses words or actions that can help someone who is being
bullied. Research tells us that more than half of bullying situations stop when a person
intervenes on behalf of the person being bullied. Sometimes it’s not easy to how you can help
in a safe way, but we’ve got five actions that can help you be an Upstander.
They are; Awhi or support the person experiencing bullying. Distract or interrupt the bullying
in some way. Call out the bullying, if you feel safe to do so. Leave and then act or
get some support and help from other people. There are a whole lot of ways that you can
get involved and celebrate Pink Shirt Day. Register at www.pinkshirtday.org.nz to be
the first to know when our toolkits, activities, official Pink Shirt Day t-shirt and free resources
and merchandise are available!