Web­site al­ready help­ing

Genevieve Mora and Jazz Thorn­ton spoke to reporter Jess Lee about their ex­pe­ri­ences with men­tal ill­ness and how they are sup­port­ing other young peo­ple through their web­site.

Central Leader - - NEWS -

A SIM­PLE Face­book mes­sage was all it took to in­spire a pair of teenagers to make a pos­i­tive im­pact on the lives of oth­ers.

The young women had never met and were liv­ing 10,500km apart when Genevieve Mora, 19, reached out through Face­book to Jazz Thorn­ton, who was deal­ing with a friend’s sui­cide.

They came up with the idea of a non-profit web­site which would fea­ture the en­cour­ag­ing sto­ries of some well-known faces and ev­ery­day peo­ple.

‘‘We want to help as many peo­ple as we can,’’ Ms Mora says.

‘‘When you are go­ing through some­thing you feel like there is no hope but if you see some­one who’s got through it and is now do­ing some­thing they love, it shows you there is a light at the end of the tun­nel.’’

The Re­muera res­i­dent would of­ten use a smile to hide her strug­gle with anx­i­ety and ob­ses­sive com­pul­sive dis­or­der.

Both young women will tell the sto­ries of how they over­came strug­gles with men­tal ill­ness on the web­site.

The thought of shar­ing her bat­tle with the world is a daunt­ing prospect, Ms Mora says.

‘‘Within the first day of launch­ing it some­one con­tacted us and told us how the site had re­ally im­pacted on her.

‘‘I burst into tears. It re­minded me why we were do­ing it, I know how im­por­tant it is.’’

Ms Thorn­ton, 18, moved on her own from Ti­maru to Auck­land at the age of 16 to es­cape years of bul­ly­ing and an un­sta­ble home life.

The Mt Eden woman says it would have helped at the time to have heard from other peo­ple who had gone through the same thing.

‘‘I think us­ing peo­ple who teenagers look up to and they think they’ve al­ways lived this amaz­ing life when in re­al­ity they’ve had their own strug­gles is im­por­tant,’’ she says.

‘‘It’s made us so aware that you never know what some­one is go­ing through, some­one could have the big­gest smile on their face but be­hind that it’s a dif­fer­ent story.’’

The web­site’s first video in­ter­views fea­ture Ti­ta­nium singer Jordi Web­ber and mu­si­cians Omega Levine and Bren­dan Pyper.

The pair have sports stars, ac­tors, pre­sen­ters and co­me­di­ans from New Zealand and Aus­tralia lined up.

Visi­tors to the site have ac­cess to helpline num­bers and can share their own sto­ries or send a pri­vate mes­sage to the two young women.

Photo: JESS LEE

Spread­ing hope: Genevieve Mora and Jazz Thorn­ton have cre­ated a web­site called Voices of Hope to help young peo­ple deal­ing with ev­ery­thing from men­tal ill­ness to exam pres­sure.

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