Studentled festival to promote wellbeing
THE Silverline Mental Health Festival started with a splash in Dunedin yesterday.
A large group of University of Otago and Otago Polytechnic students took to the waves at St Kilda Beach in brightcoloured swimwear, to raise awareness of the event.
The inaugural Silverline Festival is a studentled event, aimed at exposing students to ways of wellbeing, through a series of thoughtprovoking talks, workshops, music, yoga, fun and food.
Speakers include The Indigo Project founder and head psychologist Mary Hoang, OneWave founder Grant Trebilco, former multiple Muay Thai boxing champion Richie Hardcore and University of Otago psychology senior lecturer Damian Scarf.
Dr Scarf said he had severe anxiety throughout his undergraduate and postgraduate study, and was looking forward to sharing his experiences with those at the festival.
‘‘A lot of things that I did to deal with the anxiety made things worse,’’ he said.
‘‘For example, dealing with anxiety about grades by studying more and disconnecting from the people around me.’’
The result was, he went to a ‘‘dark place’’ that he did not want others to get to.
‘‘Hopefully, talking about my story and how I came out of that dark place will be helpful.
‘‘At the very least, it will let people going through something similar know that they are not alone,’’ he said.
Discussion topics would include mindfulness, healthy relationships, stress management, beating procrastination, suicide prevention, mental health, and drug and alcohol issues.
Dr Scarf said talking about these things openly was very important and the Silverline Festival would enable participants to talk about them in an environment that was supportive and inspiring.
‘‘Talking about mental health can be heavy, but I think the festival environment will help to balance things out.’’
The festival is open to the public and begins at 8am today in the University of Otago Link.
Water feature . . . University of Otago and Otago Polytechnic students and staff (from left) Pascal Ziegelr (23), Kasey Miles (21), Philipp Loidolt (25), Chris Davies (22), Jess Taylor (22), Elaina Moulds (23), Willem van der Kaag (22), Molly McLaren (22), Lucy Power (21), Siobhan Russel (21), Lauren Smith (26) and Mary Beban (23) make a splash at St Kilda Beach as part of a prelaunch event for the Silverline Mental Health Festival this weekend.