A 10-day photo challenge is set to engage thousands of Kiwi teenagers in life-affirming conversation in the lead up to World Suicide Prevention Day, September 10.
The challenge, created by Zeal’s youth issues project Live For Tomorrow, involves young people posting a photo on Instagram each day in response to a prompt such as “your happy place” or “future goals”.
The challenge culminates in a #HandOverHeart selfie on World Suicide Prevention Day, a call to stand in solidarity with those struggling. New Zealand’s most recent suicide toll is the highest since records have been kept.
“Research shows that young people at risk of self harm and suicide spend more time online than others,” says Zeal Advocacy Manager and project creator, Elliot Taylor.
“The challenge seeks to encourage the practice of mindfulness in young people who already spend much of their time online, and to foster positive connections with those they love.”
In 2014, over 8,000 photos were posted, reaching over one million feeds and engaging hundreds of thousands of people. The initiative received international attention and was also a finalist in the 2015 NZ Social Media Awards.
The 10 Day Photo Challenge was co-designed with young people from Zeal’s Social Marketing Collective, based at Zeal’s youth facility in West Auckland.
“By sheer involvement, I have become a happier, brighter person,” says member – and TEARAWAY Maverick, Grace King (20). “I’ve come to embrace the people around me who I know will always be there to support me.”
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