Cantabrians ‘need to invest in themselves’

Canterbury’s post-earthquake recovery should focus more on health and happiness, the manager of a major wellbeing initiative says.

“We need to make an investment in ourselves, otherwise we’ll reach the point where our houses are fixed, but we fall over,” All Right? manager Sue Turner said.

The All Right? campaign was launched last year by the Canterbury District Health Board and the Mental Health Foundation to promote health and wellbeing after Canterbury’s earthquakes.

Turner said research carried out for the project found Cantabrians were not looking after themselves enough.

A survey of 800 residents in February and March this year found two-thirds of respondents were still grieving for what had been lost in Christchurch.

Another two-thirds felt tired and less than half said they regularly slept well.

Turner said the results showed fatigue was really starting to set in for many people.

“People are more tired than they were when we did our last lot of research in 2012 and are doing less to look after themselves,” she said.

“It seems people are not sleeping as well, not doing as much physical activity . . . they’re not as connected to nature and not eating as well.”

International research showed it could take between five and 10 years to recover from a disaster emotionally, but Canterbury’s situation was more complicated because of the ongoing aftershocks and rebuild delays.

“It’s tiring living in a broken city and it’s also tiring waiting, waiting, waiting for things to happen with your house.”

The 2012 research by All Right? showed most respondents felt the city’s recovery had been too focused on buildings and infrastructure rather than on people, and similar results had come through in this year’s survey, Turner said.

She said those wanting to kickstart their own recovery could consider entering an event like the Summer Starter 10 kilometre fun run between New Brighton and Redcliffs, which would be held for the first time on November 30.

The event, which is being organised by The Press and is supported by All Right?, ticked “all the boxes” for improving wellbeing, including connecting with other people and doing physical activity.

“It’s really important to have these boosts to our wellbeing. People are looking for stuff to do with other people, that also connects them to the recovery of Christchurch,” Turner said.

“It’s not going to solve everything for everybody, but [it] can make a difference to how people feel.”

The event is also supported by businesses with an interest in the region, including PlaceMakers Riccarton, State Insurance, Smiths City and More FM.

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Each business will be entering teams and supporting a nominated charity.

Christchurch’s inaugural Summer Starter 10km fun run will be held on November 30, starting in New Brighton and finishing in Redcliffs.

Registration opens on September 30 and $3 from every entry will go to charity. Go to summerstarter.co.nz for more information.

HOW PEOPLE FEEL
Key issues for Christchurch residents:
– 67 per cent are still grieving for what Christchurch has lost
– 65 per cent are feeling tired
– 44 per cent are struggling to come to terms with what has happened following the quakes
– 66 per cent felt their life has been normal over the last year
– 48 per cent feel they regularly sleep well.

– The Press

 

To read more about health, well-being, and the Summer Starter, head to press.co.nz