Saturday, May 18, 2024

Get behind Gumboot Friday

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I Am Hope founder Mike King, left, and Richie Barnett are passionate about raising awareness for youth mental health. Photo Wayne Martin.

Several east Auckland schools are raising awareness and funding for Gumboot Friday this week.

The key to the success of Gumboot Friday is getting schools involved, the charity organisation says, which is why Bucklands Beach Primary, Bucklands Beach Intermediate, Macleans Primary, Macleans College, Owairoa Primary and Mellons Bay Primary will be selling Gumboot Friday wristbands, or specially-designed socks, on November 4.

All funds collected will go towards Gumboot Friday’s free counselling services which are provided for young Kiwis across Aotearoa.

Additionally, there will be a competition where schools will get to enter their art designs. The winner will have their design printed onto shirts.

Former rugby league star Richie Barnett told the Times that Gumboot Friday’s services run solely on donations. “The good news, in the last year, Kiwis have donated $2,456,672.25 to Gumboot Friday – gifting 19,122 sessions to our kids,” he says.

“The bad news is sessions have doubled since October 2021 and are expected to double again in the next 12 months.”

From Gumboot Friday’s survey of 300,000 students in New Zealand, 80 per cent of children will not seek any help from their parents “if they are having suicidal thoughts because they fear what their parents might think, say or do” and “40 per cent of children will have a crisis before they leave school”.

“Unfortunately, our public system is really flawed,” Barnett says.

“There’s a huge wait time and the spiderweb of trying to get support is too horrific for them to get immediate support. Sometimes the wait for treating eating disorders can be over 12 months.”

Barnett, along with Ray White real estate agents Sinead Dunne and Fran Jordan, started charity Team4Life earlier this year. It is focused on helping people in the east Auckland community.

Gumboot Friday will be livestreaming the event, with live crosses, where heroes who have donated will be spotlighted and celebrated on the day, including those in the local areas.

“We’re not waiting for a crisis point to happen,” Barnett says.

“We want to stop it when it’s a small problem.”

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