Wairarapa youth Ezra Stobbart knows what it’s like to be down and out.
Having dealt with mental health issues from the age of 10, the past decade has been a long healing journey for him.
And now, the 21-year-old wants to share his journey with other Wairarapa people.
He is organising a Masterton event around mental health, Out the Gate with Ezra Stobbart, which is planned to be held on May 26 at the Masterton YMCA.
Ezra, who grew up in Lower Hutt, was adopted into a Maori family where he was immersed in tikanga Maori. He began struggling with depression in his pre-teens, exacerbated by childhood trauma and bullying.
“My journey with mental health started at the age of 10,” Ezra said.
“It busted down the door of my life and decided it was going to take ownership of me.
“I had no identity at that point.
“I placed all of my identity in the people around me because I believed that their point was the validation I needed.”
After years of reaching out for help, and multiple attempts at taking his own life, Ezra endeavoured to be somewhat of a mental health champion for youth.
He is now working from home in suicide prevention.
“Youth have my number, they know where I am, and they know if they call me at 1am or 3am – those times when no one is awake – that I am going to pick up that phone and I’m going to be right there.
“It was in my own dark moments, that I realised that the people shining through were complete strangers.”
Ezra hopes to connect more empathetic strangers together with his May event, and possibly save lives as a result.
He also wants to share a healing strategy he discovered that works for him, to empower Wairarapa people.
“My healing comes from everything,” he said.
“What do I mean by everything? – I’m talking about food, Maori medicine, friends, drinks, going out into nature, the water, sky, everything.
“It’s the little things that can change people’s frame of mind so much.
“For me, I like getting a haircut, styling, I like wearing a tie, looking like a gentleman, stuff like that.
“People tell me that it is rubbish.
“But for me, this is part of what is keeping me well.”
Ezra said he would be interested to hear from potential sponsors of his event, and businesses willing to donate vouchers for “feel-good” services like haircuts, a massage, or meal vouchers.
These would be distributed to those attending the event in desperate need of a good day.
For more information, Ezra can be contacted on firstname.lastname@example.org
WHERE TO GET HELP:
If you are worried about your or someone else’s mental health, the best place to get help is your GP or local mental health provider. However, if you or someone else is in danger or endangering others, call police immediately on 111.
Wairarapa DHB website has a front page link to a lot of help information, or you can call:
- LIFELINE: 0800 543 354 or text HELP (4357) (available 24/7)
- SUICIDE CRISIS HELPLINE: 0508 828 865 (0508 TAUTOKO) (available 24/7)
- YOUTHLINE: 0800 376 633
- NEED TO TALK? Free call or text 1737 (available 24/7)
- KIDSLINE: 0800 543 754 (available 24/7)
- WHATSUP: 0800 942 8787 (1pm to 11pm)
- DEPRESSION HELPLINE: 0800 111 757