'I particularly enjoy working in mental health promotion...'
Bachelor of Arts in Education with a minor in Psychology
Mental Health Promoter, All Right? Campaign, Mental Health Foundation of New Zealand | Mauri Tū, Mauri Ora and Canterbury District Health Board | Te Poari Hauora ō Waitaha
What motivated you to go into public health education and promotion work?
I have a chronic lung condition, and through making lifestyle changes noticed the benefits to my health, and wanted to be in a career where I could support people to also look after their health and thrive – regardless of if they have a diagnosed physical or mental health condition.
That sounds really inspiring! What was it about Health Sciences study that drew you in?
I studied part-time in my first year so that I could figure out what line of study I was interested in (whilst being able to work and save money too!). Doing interest papers that first year is how I discovered health promotion as a career option – the job of my dreams!
I liked the smaller class sizes when I got into my Master’s, and being able to learn not only from lecturers but also fellow students who had experience in health careers and were able to provide interesting perspectives.
Now you’re part of the All Right? Campaign for mental health and wellbeing mindfulness. What does that involve?
My role with the All Right? Campaign sees me feeding into the development of campaigns, delivering wellbeing workshops, and ensuring our wellbeing messaging resonates with all audiences.
I love how health promotion is constantly evolving and finding novel ways to deliver health and wellbeing messaging – through use of social media, interactive websites, through to face-to-face workshops. I particularly enjoy working in mental health promotion as mental health is an asset we all have to look after, and we can all have tools to support us through tough times.
How has your degree helped with that?
Critical thinking, being able to tell what evidence is and isn’t, understanding the different motivations people have for changing their behaviour, report writing – lots!
So what would you recommend for other students wanting to be a part of the movement?
Take part in groups and clubs, find people to buddy up with, don’t be afraid to ask for support or clarification from lecturers and teaching assistants, and remember there’s lots of additional support available through Academic Skills Centre and the like.
You should also reach out to health services you are interested in working in to see if they internships or volunteering roles available to help you get more hands-on experience. And if they don’t have anything available, don’t underestimate the benefit of just catching up over coffee with someone to hear more about their mahi – those connections can help with job hunting down the track like it did for me!
Also remember to look after yourself too!