Dancers upbeat about depression
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.
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.