“This might be the new normal but it doesn’t mean it needs to be a negative place for all of us.”
That has been the motto for the Waitaki District Youth Council, headed by chairman Ethan Reille, as it has been working to support young people during lockdown.
When Alert Level 4 was announced on August 17, the youth council swung into action, pulling together contact details for mental health services targeted towards youth, and posting them on social media.
As lockdown was extended until at least midnight tonight, the council’s seven-person working group came together to collaborate on further ideas to support their community.
Ethan (17) said the youth council created a series called “things to do in lockdown”, and soon began creating graphics, and videos, in the hope of connecting young people outside of their bubbles.
“It’s quite an isolating position to be in right now and we wanted to find ways that we could keep young people engaged, and keeping themselves distracted, and motivated from actually having to go, and reach out to those support services in the first place,” Ethan said.
The videos included baking ideas, art classes, exercise, re-potting plants, and study tips. The videos showcased different strategies to keep the “lockdown blues” away.
“The main thing is it’s reaching the right people. They don’t necessarily have to be doing the same thing as us, as long as it’s giving them a bit of hope.
“We need to be finding the ways to find the positive out of something that’s been quite negative and just working with it as it comes to us.”
Earlier this year, the youth council chose to focus its attention on mental health in Waitaki.
“Every single one of us has been through a stage where we’ve had to check our mental health and wellbeing, and question what help we can have.”
Ethan hoped the youth council’s efforts during lockdown would make a difference.
“It’s making sure that everyone knows it is OK to not be OK.”
New graphics and videos would continue to be uploaded to the Waitaki District Youth Council Facebook page.