Brave talk brings dif­fer­ent per­spec­tive

Manawatu Guardian - - REVIEW -

Search­ing For Hap­pi­ness

The Royal — Palmy Fringe Fes­ti­val Re­view by Natasha Mel­bye

Nathan Hed­ley’s Search­ing for Hap­pi­ness co­in­cided per­fectly with New Zealand Men­tal Health Week span­ning from Mon­day, Oc­to­ber 8 to Sun­day, Oc­to­ber 14.

As Hed­ley ex­plores his ex­pe­ri­ences with doc­tors, coun­cil­lors, helplines and the over­all men­tal health sys­tem, he at­tempts to bring a dif­fer­ent per­spec­tive to an oth­er­wise dif­fi­cult topic, of­ten en­cour­ag­ing and re­as­sur­ing his au­di­ence that it was ac­cept­able to laugh at some of the sto­ries he told.

When de­scrib­ing how he felt be­fore he had vis­ited a doc­tor and was di­ag­nosed with se­vere de­pres­sion Hed­ley ex­plained, “I felt like a zom­bie in a zom­bie apoca­lypse . . . but ev­ery­one else was nor­mal.”

He con­tin­ued to ex­plain the rea­son­ing for the ti­tle of his per­for­mance by con­tin­u­ing the anal­ogy and stat­ing “in­stead of chas­ing brains I was chas­ing hap­pi­ness”. He en­cap­su­lated the feel­ing that too many New Zealan­ders faced ev­ery day and may not have the voice to ex­press.

Hed­ley said what he knew about men­tal health and sui­cide he learnt from his mother and from movies, due to a lack of ed­u­ca­tion in schools.

How­ever, grow­ing up he didn’t fully un­der­stand what his mother was go­ing through and the movie rep­re­sen­ta­tions he saw of a de­pressed char­ac­ter was es­sen­tially just Eey­ore from Win­nie the Pooh. This brought to light the fact that many peo­ple haven’t had much or any ed­u­ca­tion sur­round­ing men­tal health de­spite its im­por­tance.

Hed­ley’s talk took a dif­fi­cult topic and twisted it with dark hu­mour to make it a more ac­cept­able and eas­ier topic for peo­ple to talk about. This meant ex­pos­ing per­sonal ex­pe­ri­ences that most peo­ple would rather not dis­cuss and pushed the im­por­tance that it should be dis­cussed in or­der to re­move the stigma and shame that too of­ten sur­rounded men­tal health is­sues. Hed­ley’s brave talk is an im­por­tant step in as­sist­ing peo­ple with men­tal health na­tion­wide.

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