WE ARE BREAKING THE SILENCE
ON THE BIGGEST ISSUE FACING RURAL NEW ZEALAND
- OUR WELLBEING
When Elle Perriam, founder of Will to Live, lost her partner, a North Otago high country shepherd, to suicide she knew straight away when she inherited her late partner's favourite huntaway, Jess, she was going to be the ideal mascot for an important cause.
Jess is the symbolic reminder to young, rural people of their need to 'Speak Up' collectively, and the ripple effect will happen as when one dog speaks up (barks) and the rest follow.
The 'Speak Up' bark-up at each event is unique to 'Will to Live'. After a moment of silence for those that have lost their lives to depression, Elle calls Jess to 'Speak Up' which breaks the silence and is followed by the rural communities huntaways together in unison.
Suicide in rural New Zealand is higher than any other demographic & has a lasting ripple effect through a small, rural community - especially with our young people, who are often the largest statistic.
'Will to Live' provides wellbeing education to our most vulnerable young farm workers living & working often isolated in the country.
When you can't access mental health services easily it's important to bring the resilience training to the people.
It's all about the power of gratitude - 'What is my Will to Live?' - and for many young farm workers it might be their team of dogs.