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Headlight – making it easy to talk about mental health

While most people know how to look after their physical health, not many have the skills, knowledge, and confidence to support their mental health. This is where Headlight comes in.

Headlight's mission is to increase mental health literacy, a proven health promotion strategy for improving mental well-being. Traditionally, mental health education programs are limited to large workplaces or are on a user-pays basis, leaving diverse cultural and priority communities underserved.

In 2021, the team started developing and delivering mental health education to local priority communities through the GoodYarn Community Pilot Project. Seeing the value in this pilot project, Headlight was established in July 2022 to build the pilot project into a sustainable mental health education programme.

To date, Headlight has provided free or subsidised mental health education to nearly 500 community members, including migrants with English as a second language, parents, NGOs/volunteers, and small businesses.

Their unique community-led model has created a new way of making mental health education accessible and engaging and has established Headlight as a leader in community-based mental health literacy training. Headlight was recently recognised for their efforts, winning the “Excellence in Community Contribution Award” at the Queenstown Business Chamber of Commerce 2023 Awards.

“I have loved this journey of making mental health education accessible and effective for our local communities,” says Headlight Chief Executive, Anna Dorsey. “It started in response to a clear need to do more to fill the gaps for our migrant and other priority groups, who were facing increasing pressures on their mental health post-COVID and experiencing many barriers to accessing support. By responding to community need, we have been able to design a whole new way of supporting communities which is incredibly rewarding and has significant potential to help more people in future.”

“We know that education is empowering and knowing that we are empowering our people to be healthier, happier, more connected, and more supportive is its own reward”

Funding from Central Lakes Trust (CLT) gave Headlight a solid foundation to build the programme further.

“Our organisation needed to set up operational structures to manage our programme activity, such as finance systems, HR contracts and reporting and so having funds to ensure we could pay people to do both the operational roles and the project work has been vital to our success.”

CLT is proud to be supporting Headlight and the amazing work they are doing for mental health education.

Wānaka Community Workshop for NGOs/ community workers


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