Hundreds of thousands of Kiwis living with mental health conditions are set to benefit from the launch of a new charitable initiative designed to help improve access to support programmes.
Peonies with a Purpose is a new campaign by Feel Good with Flowers and the NZ Paeony Society. All proceeds will go towards the Mental Health Foundation of New Zealand to provide funding for mental health services and support for those who need it.
Pak'nSave Petone has joined flower retailers throughout the country to take part in this nationwide charitable campaign to raise funds.
Each bouquet or bunch of peonies purchased at a participating retailer will see $1 donated to the foundation to be used for its programmes.
Shaun Robinson, chief executive of Mental Health Foundation of New Zealand said COVID-19 has been a challenge for many Kiwis and the much-needed funding will help support the more than 437,000 Kiwis who access their services each year.
“The impact on the Mental Health Foundation has been like a seesaw - need has gone up and fundraising has gone down. We have worked extremely hard producing 19 additional resources relating to COVID-19 especially those in distress, and we have supported a national wellbeing campaign. At the same time, lockdown has reduced our ability to raise funds through events, so we are extremely grateful for those in the community who continue to find ways to give,” said Robinson.
“We’re aware that many people have struggled with the challenges of COVID-19. It’s important to acknowledge that our mental wellbeing changes with additional stress and recognising that it’s ok to feel the changes.
“What is important is that people are connecting with each other, feel supported in their community and workplace and have access to professional support services if needed. Stress and anxiety are a normal response to such a big event and our resources can help guide people to better wellbeing or the service they require."
Feel Good with Flowers marketing manager Rebecca Jones said 2020 has been a difficult year for many Kiwis and that peonies, which symbolise compassion, are the perfect flower choice for the charitable campaign.
“This year has been a particularly challenging time for all kiwis as we have had to learn, adapt and change to suit the new COVID-19 climate. New Zealanders have faced navigating new financial, emotional and everyday challenges that have had a profound effect on our mental health and wellbeing.
“We feel so fortunate to work in an industry in which the products and services we provide bring such happiness to others. We wanted to pass that ‘feel good factor’ on and provide additional support to a charity that makes a difference in improving our communities mental, emotional and physical wellbeing."
Jones said academic research has shown that those exposed to natural settings such as gardens, flowers or green spaces can have beneficial emotional and mental health benefits, and have a positive impact on a person's psychological, social, physical and cognitive wellbeing.
“Flowers spark such joy and we are incredibly blessed in New Zealand to grow and produce some of the best peonies in the world. We hope that funds raised in this campaign will help to brighten the lives of Kiwis who need it most."