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New workshop launched to ease weather-related anxiety


November 20, 2023

A new workshop is now available that is designed to help people experiencing weather-related anxiety.

In recent years, Aotearoa has seen an increase in severe weather events such as Cyclone Gabrielle and major flooding across the motu.

These devastating events have a significant impact not only on property and infrastructure but also on people’s mental health and wellbeing. For people who live through these traumatic events, the impact often lasts long after the storm has passed and clean-up has begun.

Blueprint for Learning’s new workshop, Weathering the Storm, is designed to help. The 4-hour in-person workshop explores weather-related anxiety and how extreme weather can impact individuals, whānau and communities. It aims to help those who have been personally impacted by extreme weather to build resilience and give tools to people working in communities supporting others.

Weathering the Storm was created in direct response to the mental health toll caused by extreme weather events, thanks to funding from Te Whatu Ora. The workshop will be delivered in person all over the motu, focusing on the regions that have been badly affected by severe weather.

“We have seen an increase in severe weather events in Aotearoa and we know this is causing ongoing stress and anxiety for many people,” says Lotta Dann, Project Lead for Weathering the Storm.

“Unfortunately, we can’t stop it from raining but we can ensure people have the knowledge and tools to manage the stress and heightened emotions that rain and extreme weather can cause. They’ll also get practical advice on how to support others, including children, and tips to reduce weather-related anxiety.”

The workshop features video stories from New Zealanders who have experienced extreme weather events. One such video features Huia, who was stranded on the roof of her shed for 3 hours during Cyclone Gabrielle. Huia’s story offers hope for workshop participants as she describes how she takes care of herself in the aftermath of that traumatic day.

“I make a point of meeting up with really good friends, I see a therapist and I push myself to get out and do things,” Huia says in the video. “You’ve got to stay positive and look after yourself, that’s the biggest thing.”

The in-person workshop is free to attend, thanks to funding from Te Whatu Ora, and includes lunch. An option to attend an online workshop will be available in the coming months.

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