Sam & Neil Wagstaff, Peak Fitness & Health

Recognising when someone is not okay and knowing what to do about it is key to starting a conversation about mental wellbeing, raising suicide awareness and suicide prevention.

In a first for the region, Mates4Life Hawke’s Bay have teamed up with a gym – Peak Fitness & Health, Havelock North – because they believe that mental and physical wellbeing go hand-in-hand.

Mates4Life kaiwhakahaere/operations manager Tyson Ataera said the aim was to create life-supporting workplaces, and ultimately life-supporting communities.

“Hawke’s Bay has one of the highest rates of suicide. We’re trying to identify issues and get people talking a lot earlier. It’s about training people inside businesses to notice workmates in distress and start talking about basic mental health,” Ataera said.

“It’s like providing first-aid training, but for mental health … “It’s about giving tools to manage stressors in day-to-day life.”

Peak Fitness is locally owned and operated and co-owner Sam Wagstaff said teaming up with Mates4Life was a no-brainer.

“Mental wellbeing is hugely important. From our standing in the community, we wanted to make sure that health and wellbeing of our clients was as good as it could be.”

The first event ‘Scope’ is on September 20 at the gym.

Peak Fitness’ Neil Wagstaff reiterated that ‘Scope’ would be about identifying and managing stressors in day-to-day life.

“We are a big advocate for Mates4Life and what they do. We all respond to stressors differently and the first talk would be about identifying stressors, and key strategies to manage it.” 

An example of managing stress could be learning how to breathe properly, he said.

“We will focus on triggers of stress. Most of us spend time in a stress response, and there are a lot of tools to control it.” He said he wanted people to be aware that they what they were feeling was normal, and there’s always a way to respond.

Every workplace in Hawke’s Bay can play a part in mental health awareness and self-harm prevention through the Mates4Life Hawke’s Bay programme.

The aim is for everyone in a workspace to have a shared understanding of what the signs are when someone needs help, and how to connect them to the right support.

Backing for the Mates4Life Hawke’s Bay programme has come from the Hawke’s Bay DHB Suicide Prevention Coordinator, local businesses, and a range of funders.

The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) allocated $180,000 over two years to help things get off the ground.

The programme was piloted at Tumu Group and organic food producer Bostock New Zealand, two major Hawke’s Bay businesses serving the primary sector.

The programme is now available to businesses and organisations right across the region, from Wairoa to Dannevirke.

Public Interest Journalism funded by NZ on Air


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1 Comment

  1. Good for you Sam and Neil, and congrats to everyone involved in getting Mates4Life up and running. Great initiative.

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