$40k raised for forestry mental health

More than $40,000 was raised to lead a forest mental health initiative at a charity auction dinner held in Rotorua last week.

Opened by the newly appointed Mayor of Rotorua, Tanya Tapsell, the charity auction was part of the Fast & Forward Forestry Expo.

Forest Industry Contractors Association (FICA) CEO Prue Younger says the auction was intended to raise money for more mental health initiatives following a pilot program with Mates4Life, Hawke’s Bay.

“Mental well-being is a topical challenge for any workplace in this crazy world, and Forest has not escaped it,” Younger says.

She says FICA wanted to bring together funds to start a program to support the sector.

“The goal is to provide a long-term, sustainable, and barrier-free training approach to suicide awareness and prevention that is specific to the needs of workplaces and communities,” Younger says.

Mayor of Rotorua Tania Tapsell opened the evening as a keynote speaker.

“Forests are part of our DNA, they are part of our identity, and we have a strong history and legacy in forestry and wood processing that we are very proud of,” Tapsell told the audience.

Rotorua as a major destination city has also been affected by the COVID virus and the ripple effects of the pandemic. But we’re also a forward-thinking, resilient community that works hard to recover. Events like these help us do that. As a community, we are very pleased to be able to welcome you back to Rotorua.”

She said the charity auction is important to FICA’s goal of developing a mental health support program for workers in this sector.

“Mental health does not discriminate, and all of us in this room may have experienced mental health issues ourselves or witnessed a friend, relative or colleague struggle with mental health issues. This is a great initiative.”


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