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Depression Awareness Week in Kiribati

Published on 13th April 2017

Depression Awareness Week 2017b

A screengrab of the first text message sent as part of Depression Awareness Week in both Kiribati and English

Lauren Emanuel is volunteering for VSA as a Mental Health Programme Adviser with Te Meeria in Kiribati.


As part of Depression Awareness Week in Kiribati recently, Lauren organised through telecommunications company ATH Kiribati for two text blasts to be sent to Kiribati's mobile phone network of 150,000 which includes I-Kiribati living in Fiji.


The first text at the start of the week provided warning signs of depression and ways to respond, with the phone number for Kainikatikun Te Marurung (KTM) - the community mental health clinic. The second text was sent on World Health Day (7 April) and reinforced the theme Depression - let's talk, with hashtags #depression and #letstalk.


Word of Depression Awareness Week was spread throughout Kiribati via a Village Theatre Roadshow, where performance was used to deliver important messages through humour, dance and vignette.


Says Lauren: "The Roadshow was a big first in Kiribati and very effective. The theatre group performed and a woman spoke about her experience with depression and her recovery, which was very brave as there is a still a stigma associated with mental illness".


Over the course of the week, 16 villages received the World Health Organisation's (WHO) depression awareness message via the Roadshow.


Depression Awareness Week 2017a

Village Theatre Roadshow performance during Depression Awareness Week


Depression Awareness Week 2017d

The poster issued for Depression Awareness Week by the World Health Organisation


Depression Awareness Week 2017c

A woman from the Roadshow speaking of her experience with depression

1 Comment

  • Jackie on 23rd April

    Well done what amazing support from the telco to achieve this - ashame we couldn't do something like this is NZ!

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