Voices of Hope launch men’s mental health campaign

A new initiative launched to tackle the huge problem of male suicide emphasises the message ‘it’s not weak to speak’.

Shocking statistics show that men make up the huge majority of suicides across Australasia and the video aims to encourage males to shake the ‘she’ll be right’ attitude and start speaking out by asking for help when they are struggling.

Through the month of December Voices of Hope will release three interviews with New Zealand men sharing their experiences with self-harm, depression and suicide.

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 A new initiative has been launched to tackle the huge problem of male suicide, starting a video starring Zac Franich, Jono Pryor, Joseph Fa'afiu, Jordan Watson and Michael Fatialofa (pictured: left to right)

 A new initiative has been launched to tackle the huge problem of male suicide, starting a video starring Zac Franich, Jono Pryor, Joseph Fa'afiu, Jordan Watson and Michael Fatialofa (pictured: left to right)

 A new initiative has been launched to tackle the huge problem of male suicide, starting a video starring Zac Franich, Jono Pryor, Joseph Fa’afiu, Jordan Watson and Michael Fatialofa (pictured: left to right)

New Zealand bachelor Zac Franich (left) and Hurricane’s rugby star Michael Fatialofa (right) appeared the teaser clip promoting speaking out around mental health issues 

To help promote the campaign, the non-profit organisation enlisted the help of some well-known New Zealanders including viral video sensation Jordan Watson of How to Dad, Jono Pryor from comedy duo Jono & Ben, and The Bachelor’s Zac Franich.

Voices of hope co-founder Jazz Thornton said the appeal is targeted at men because they make up a huge majority of the country’s self-inflicted deaths.

‘We decided to do this campaign because out of the 606 suicides in New Zealand last year, 457 of them are men,’ she told Daily Mail Australia. 

‘We are constantly talking about wanting to see our suicide statistics change. It was a hard campaign for us to do, as we are both 22-year-old girls who really don’t know what it’s like for men so we had to talk to a lot of men and find out what the reasons behind the suicide rates can be.’

Israel Whit runs Auckland Labor Hire lends his voice to the video aiming to encourage males to shake the 'she'll be right' attitude

Israel Whit runs Auckland Labor Hire lends his voice to the video aiming to encourage males to shake the 'she'll be right' attitude

Israel Whit runs Auckland Labor Hire lends his voice to the video aiming to encourage males to shake the ‘she’ll be right’ attitude

Hemi Te Hemi (pictured) lost his son to suicide two years ago and  uses his experiences with loosing a son to change the 'harden up' attitude that is all too common amongst men

Hemi Te Hemi (pictured) lost his son to suicide two years ago and  uses his experiences with loosing a son to change the 'harden up' attitude that is all too common amongst men

Hemi Te Hemi (pictured) lost his son to suicide two years ago and uses his experiences with loosing a son to change the ‘harden up’ attitude that is all too common amongst men

Jordan Watson behind the viral videos How to Dad offered his support for the campaign to raise awareness 

Jordan Watson behind the viral videos How to Dad offered his support for the campaign to raise awareness 

Jordan Watson behind the viral videos How to Dad offered his support for the campaign to raise awareness 

Joseph Fa’afiu, who appears in the clip, told Daily Mail Australia he has always been reserved in sharing his own personal struggles but after finding the courage he wants to motivate others to find the strength to speak out and seek help.

‘I myself have struggled to open up because the fear of being viewed and labeled a failure and that it would make me look weak.

‘In recent years however I’ve found my voice and I want others to find theirs that’s why I wanted to be part of this great campaign because it’s not weak to speak – it took me a long time to realise this, but now that I know maybe I can help others find their voice.’

Former Bachelor Zac Franich exclusively revealed it was deeply important for him to show his vulnerable side to help encourage conversation around issues that impact so many. 

Jazz Thornton (left) and Genevieve Mora (right) established Voices of Hope to raise awareness around suicide

‘I think it’s really important that people (and men in particular) are shown that it’s a sign of strength to show your vulnerabilities and ask for help, as opposed to bottling things up. 

‘Having had my own experiences with mental health, I almost felt obliged to speak up and bare all for those who don’t feel they are able to just yet. 

‘It’s about changing a mindset and a culture that is heavily ingrained within our society, and movements like Voices of Hope help us all take those little steps in the right direction.’

In March television star Jono Pryor, who offers his voice for the cause, broke down on live television as he revealed a very close friend had taken his own life.

The renowned comic who is a co-host of popular New Zealand TV comedy show ‘Jono and Ben’ shed tears while sharing the person, hugely important to him, had died.

He bravely took a moment to touch on the serious issue of mental health at the end of the episode the Auckland-based entertainer reiterated the importance of asking for help in dark times.

The Auckland-based duo wanted to use their own experiences with struggles in life to make a difference

The Auckland-based duo wanted to use their own experiences with struggles in life to make a difference

The Auckland-based duo wanted to use their own experiences with struggles in life to make a difference

In March television host Jono Pryor (pictured right with Genevieve Mora and Jazz Thornton) broke down on live television as he revealed a very close friend had taken his own life

In March television host Jono Pryor (pictured right with Genevieve Mora and Jazz Thornton) broke down on live television as he revealed a very close friend had taken his own life

In March television host Jono Pryor (pictured right with Genevieve Mora and Jazz Thornton) broke down on live television as he revealed a very close friend had taken his own life

The video launched on Friday appeals to all men of any age and country of origin and hopes to pinpoint triggers while normalising the conversation around men’s mental health.

‘We have been so thankful that so many men have been so willing to step up and get behind this campaign,’ Ms Thornton said. 

‘They have all been so incredibly open and willing to share their stories and get behind a movement that encourages men to speak out.’

Co-founder Genevieve Mora (pictured) once struggled through mental illness and wants others to know tough times do get better

Co-founder Genevieve Mora (pictured) once struggled through mental illness and wants others to know tough times do get better

Co-founder Genevieve Mora (pictured) once struggled through mental illness and wants others to know tough times do get better

Jazz Thornton (pictured) was left in a coma after she attempted to take her own life in 2015

Jazz Thornton (pictured) was left in a coma after she attempted to take her own life in 2015

Jazz Thornton (pictured) was left in a coma after she attempted to take her own life in 2015

Genevieve Mora, who established VoH with Ms Thornton, told DMA she is incredibly thankful for the men’s ability to be so candid through their difficult conversations. 

‘It’s been amazing sitting down and hearing the stories of the men we have interviewed. 

‘Seeing them be so open and vulnerable is so inspiring and a good reminder that men can speak up.’

Both girls have experienced the harrowing impacts of self-harm and strive to make a change on attitude to mental health issues around the globe.  

In Australia, 2,866 people died from suicide, and deaths among males occur at a rate three times greater than that for females.

Voices of Hope will also showcase a creative this month that highlights the differences between children and men’s attitudes to mental health. 

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