NO SMALL TALK WELLINGTON 

March 23, St Johns Bar

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A note from our Wellington lead Mariana

The Wellington No Small Talk event was something magic. It is actually hard to simply explain with words all of the emotion that encased this one evening. We were all seated in the St John’s function room and as soon as the doors were shut, there was a shift in the air.

 

Anticipation emerged so strongly it was palpable in the room. One by one the speakers made their way to the microphone which would become their anchor for the duration of their story. Every time a new set of hands grasped the microphone there was another air shift in the room, each one much stronger than the last.

We heard three vastly different stories, each as important as the last. Yet even through the differences in the stories, there were core common threads of vulnerability, honesty, pain; but most important of all, there was hope. Each speaker left behind a trace of hope and love that far outweighed the gravity of everything they so graciously shared with us. As I looked around the room that night, I saw tears, smiles and hugs but the most overwhelming thing I witnessed was the openness and acceptance with which the speakers were embraced by an audience of mostly strangers.

 

And that’s what it’s about right? It can be so scary to open up, to let people know that you are struggling. But our speakers demonstrated that even within a group of strangers, more often than not, you will be embraced.

 

Even with the stigma which surrounds male’s mental health in Aotearoa, these three brave men were able to speak up and pave the way for other men who may be struggling. It was a confronting evening for many, to see someone who outwardly looks like they are okay speak about tragic and heart-breaking struggles. But everyone who exited through the doors of St John’s that night left knowing that there is hope; there is a way to get through hardship and to overcome mental battles, and the first step is to start the conversation.

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