Dancers up­beat about de­pres­sion

Central Leader - - NEWS - By JESS LEE

Fresh from tak­ing Las Vegas by storm at the World Hip-Hop Cham­pi­onships, dance crew Iden­tity is hop­ing to in­spire young peo­ple in a national sui­cide preven­tion cam­paign.

The eight-strong Bal­moral-based group was crowned national adult cham­pi­ons at the New Zealand National Hip-Hop Cham­pi­onships in April.

They came home as sil­ver medal­lists from the World Hip Hop Cham­pi­onships in Las Vegas, miss­ing out on the top spot by just 0.01 of a point to an ex­pe­ri­enced Cana­dian team.

Iden­tity has teamed up with youth ad­vo­cacy group Pri­mal Youth for its Un­de­feated cam­paign which will see them tour high schools around the coun­try to raise aware­ness about de­pres­sion and re­move the shame around ask­ing for help.

Crew leader Josh Ce­san says the group was in­spired to get in­volved af­ter tour­ing schools ear­lier in the year.

‘‘There were a few kids who reached out to us af­ter the shows and said that it helped them so much.

‘‘That was in­spi­ra­tional,’’ he says. ‘‘If we can help just one or two kids to seek help so they can be happy with their own suc­cesses later on then we’ve done what we set out to.’’

The crew will per­form their set from the world cham­pi­onships and speak with stu­dents about their own ex­pe­ri­ences.

Hip-hop is a re­ally good way of reach­ing out to youth, Josh says.

‘‘It’s the lan­guage that is re­ally un­der­stood.

‘‘Some­times you can go to a school and all of the corny speeches can be over­whelm­ing but we’re ev­i­dence of not giv­ing up.’’ .

Pri­mal Youth spokes­woman Natalie Blucher says the cam­paign aims to present teens with three clear ac­ces­si­ble path­ways to talk about de­pres­sion, anx­i­ety and any is­sue that may be get­ting them down.

‘‘It’s OK to ask for says. ‘‘We want to get the mes­sage out live un­de­feated, don’t let any-

help,’’ she thing de­feat you but ask for help.’’

Teens will be en­cour­aged to talk to their school coun­sel­lor, re­ceive sup­port from the Pri­mal Youth com­mu­nity and to call the Youth­line 24/7 youth helpline on 0800 37 66 33 or free text 234 be­tween the hours of 8am and midnight.

Un­de­feated will visit One­hunga High School on Septem­ber 4 and Dil­worth’s se­nior cam­pus on Septem­ber 6.

Photo: JA­SON OXENHAM

Un­de­feated: Dance crew Iden­tity is tour­ing high schools to raise aware­ness about de­pres­sion and re­move the shame around ask­ing for help. From left: Richie Ce­san, Chevy Mikaere, An­drew Ce­san, Josh Ce­san, Tan­iora Mo­tutere, Cameron Cranston, Ahutoa Lane­fale and James Tau­tuku.

Go to cen­tral­leader.co.nz and click on Lat­est Edi­tion to watch Iden­tity per­form at the World Hip-Hop Cham­pi­onships in Las Vegas.

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