Sally Adams. PHOTO/BECKIE WILSON

BECKIE WILSON

beckie.wilson@age.co.nz

Despite the utter devastation that Sally Adams felt when she lost her brother to suicide, she has now been able to turn that into positivity in his honour.

Losing her brother, Steve Adams, to suicide is something Sally is still coming to grips with as she seeks closure.

Eighteen months ago, she started the Mental Health Fund, under the Nikau Foundation, in her brother’s honour.

“I really wanted to acknowledge the dedication and commitment of those working within the mental health field.

“There are many organisations and individuals who do amazing things in our community and if the Mental Health Fund is able to support them in the future, this is the legacy I am sure Steve would want to leave behind,” she said.

Sally, from South Wairarapa, lost her brother in January 2009.

“It still feels quite raw,” she said.

The two siblings had been nursing their ill mother who had died from cancer just two weeks before he went missing.

But Sally said she had no reason to believe her brother was feeling like he did enough to take his own life.

“A lot of the feelings he had I attributed to mum passing away.”

This week is Mental Health Awareness Week, linking in with this year’s theme of “let nature in, strengthen your wellbeing.

Mental Health issues were prominent in society, but there was never going to be enough government funding to overcome that, Sally said.

Her message to others was to not be afraid to ask if someone is okay.

“Don’t hold back, just ask, and then if you sense they are pushing you away, send a text, “thinking of you”, “love you”.

“Don’t give up at the first attempt,” she said.

“We all need to know we are not alone.”

Sally said mental health issues were “very private and at times completely isolating”.

“Just trying to explain how you feel or the thought of seeking help can feel totally overwhelming.”

The Nikau Foundation is an independent charitable trust that attracts gifts, trusts and legacies and invests them to preserve the capital and generate income to benefit the Greater Wellington region, including Wairarapa.

The income from these investments is distributed to local charities in accordance with each donor’s wishes.

To make a donation to the Mental Health Fund, contact the Nikau Foundation on 0800 968 744 or email louise@nikaufoundation.org.nz.

WHERE TO GET HELP

Need to Talk? Free call or text 1737 any time to speak to a trained counsellor, for any reason.

Lifeline: 0800 543 354 or text HELP to 4357

Suicide Crisis Helpline: 0508 828 865/0508 TAUTOKO [24/7]. This is a service for people who may be thinking about suicide, or those who are concerned about family or friends.

Depression Helpline: 0800 111 757 [24/7].

Samaritans: 0800 726 666 [24/7].

Youthline: 0800 376 633 [24/7] or free text 234 [8am-12am], or email talk@youthline.co.nz

What’s Up: online chat [7pm-10pm] or 0800 WHATSUP/0800 9428 787 children’s helpline [1pm-10pm weekdays, 3pm-10pm weekends].

Kidsline [ages 5-18]: 0800 543 754 [24/7].

Rural Support Trust Helpline: 0800 787 254

Healthline: 0800 611 116

If it is an emergency and you feel like you or someone else is at risk, call 111.