Tue 24 May 2016

Help fight the blues

The first time Temika Amstad appeared in a newspaper it was as the good fairy in a pantomime.

Now this 16-year-old good fairy is in the news for helping other teenagers cope with depression.

The former Spotswood College student, who is doing tertiary studies at WITT and is a student leader,  helps run a not-for-profit organisation called Fighting the Blues, and on Wednesday (May 25) she will be talking to students at the WITT library about her cause and explain that help is available.

Fighting the Blues was launched in November 2014 and its Facebook page has more than 1000 likes. Temika has also organised three walks to raise funds and awareness about depression.

Wednesday’s session will be part of the events for Youth Week, which runs to Sunday and has a theme of aroha mai, aroha atu – giving back is going forward.

Temika was motivated to help give back to young people after losing a friend to suicide in 2014.

There are a range of organisations with experts and expert advice on hand which Fighting the Blues recommends, but first and foremost it offers students an ear and a shoulder.

A Fairfax media article in 2015 referred to suicide as the unspoken death toll. Tracey Twaddle’s story noted that while the road toll for 2013 had been 253, suicide numbers in New Zealand since 1997 had “been hovering’ at around 500 a year.

Temika is close to launching a website to go with her Facebook page, and in the meantime has been liaising with Tui Ora with a view to becoming part of the prevention side of the Taranaki Suicide Prevention and Postvention Plan.

Her team at Fighting the Blues includes Ahumai Tako-Hoeta, 23.

They received some publicity last month in the North Taranaki Midweek when Temika told reporters Yvette Batten: "Our overall goal is just to make the world a happier place."

For more information about youth Week go to www.arataiohi.org.nz/youthweek.

To get help with depression:

·         In an emergency call 111

·         Taranaki DHB Mental health and Addictions Service 0508 277 478

·         Lifeline 0800 543 354

·         Suicide Prevention Helpline 0508 828 865

·         Touched by Suicide Support (06) 757 9300

·         Youthline 0800 376 633 / free text 234 or email talk@youthline.org.nz