Campaign aims to get rural men to speak up about depression

Rural Exchange 13/10/2018

A university student is taking aim at improving mental health education for young rural males in New Zealand.

The ‘Will to Live’ campaign, which will see a nationwide tour in 2019, is targeted at encouraging young rural males to speak about their own battles with depression.

Lincoln University student Elle Perriam lost her 21-year-old Will boyfriend to suicide last year.

She hopes the ‘Will to Live’ campaign will help send a strong message to young New Zealanders to encourage them to ask for help.

“We thought we better tour around the country and bring accessible mental health education into small towns and rural communities,” Ms Perriam told RadioLIVE.

Founded by Ms Perriam, Abbo Williams and Sam Gregory, the ‘Will to Live’ campaign will launch at the Hunterville Huntaway Festival as the first of a nationwide series.

The campaign founders will kick off the campaign the attempt to lead New Zealand’s largest bark-up with over 150 huntaway dogs.

Ms Perriam told RadioLIVE there were no warning signs for someone contemplating suicide.

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

Elle Perriam and her late boyfriend, Will.

Ten anticipated ‘Speak Up’ events will be located at local pubs in rural communities, providing a forum with mental health professionals and those who’ve experienced depression. 

Where to find help and support:

  • Need to talk? Free call or text 1737
  • Lifeline – 0800 543 354
  • Suicide Crisis Helpline  0508 828 865 (0508 TAUTOKO)
  • Healthline - 0800 611 116
  • Samaritans - 0800 726 666
  • Depression Helpline - 0800 111 757
  • Mental Health Foundation

Watch the full interview with Elle Perriam 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.