Do you feel All Right?
Artists and arts organisations are playing a part in seeing that Canterbury is All Right?
The All Right? campaign, led by Healthy Christchurch, is improving Cantabrians’ mental health and wellbeing as they recover and rebuild from the earthquakes.
Recovery from a disaster of this magnitude isn’t easy. Healthy Christchurch knew it was vital that people took extra care of themselves and each other. The arts are getting people together, communicating difficult messages and helping people grieve.
Sue Turner from Canterbury Health Board explains why the arts feature so strongly:
“The campaign uses the ‘five ways to wellbeing’: connect, take notice, keep learning, be active and give, as a framework for delivering our wellbeing messages. Involvement in the arts resonate strongly with these five ways by providing an opportunity for people to gain new skills, confidence and self-esteem, whilst building social connection and reducing isolation.”
The Body Festival got more than 10,000 people dancing, with support from the All Right? campaign:
Have-A-Go workshops throughout Christchurch had something for everyone from tango to waltz to Victorian dance or hip hop.
Do A Little Dance was a work place dance challenge. The challenge was to ‘grab your workmates, choose a song, clear a space, create a dance routine, practice at least ten minutes a week, share a clip of your progress, challenge other businesses to get involved and then come together for the Workplace Dance Off’.
One participant recalls that “I haven’t thought about EQC (Earthquake Commission) for a whole hour”. Another wished there was something like it every Saturday night. More than 73% of participants said they were more likely to be physically active as a result of the Body Festival.
Adam Hayward, Body Festival Artistic Director is not surprised that so many people felt All Right dancing:
“I am delighted with the collaboration between the All Right? Team and the festival. I hope it shows the power of dance to improve our community’s social, health and physical wellbeing.”
The Alright Campaign recognises that artists and designers can make serious messages fun. MAKE designers created posters, flags, badges, billboards and even packs of family activity cards. The messages really hit home:
“Thank you to everyone involved in this campaign. Because of the wonderful flags I was prompted to get on the website. I found I was able to get funded counselling…I am now coping and dealing with things much better than I had been.” Christchurch Bus Driver
“I had a few badges given to me over the weekend, so I offered them to my form class today and I was mobbed. The girls started talking about how they are not feeling ‘all right’ about everything and they asked me to please get them all badges, and some for their friends.” Christchurch Teacher
The All Right? campaign is a Healthy Christchurch initiative led by the Canterbury District Health Board and the Mental Health Foundation of New Zealand. They are funded by the Ministry of Health and are supported many other organisations including the Red Cross, SKIP, Christchurch City Council and Waimakariri District Council. They undertake regular research with the community to determine cause and affect for creative and non-creative approaches to wellbeing .