A pocket book to help people struggling with their mental health

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Ruby Gibbs from Raglan has created a mental health booklet to help people monitor their mental well-being.

MARK TAYLOR/Stuff

Ruby Gibbs from Raglan has created a mental health booklet to help people monitor their mental well-being.

If a handmade booklet could help her sister through a tough time, Ruby Gibbs wondered if a pocket toolkit could help others struggling with mental health issues.

It was around this time last year that friends of the sister approached Gibbs with concerns about her well-being.

She didn’t want to be bossy, but the 30-something had a degree in psychology and wanted to help.

Sitting with colored pencils, she made a little booklet to remind her sister of some tips and tricks to help her in her fight.

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The booklet was produced by a group of local artists and is distributed free of charge.

MARK TAYLOR/Stuff

The booklet was produced by a group of local artists and is distributed free of charge.

She gave it to her sister, but on the same day a close friend committed suicide.

About a month later and with the encouragement of her family and friends, she decided to channel her energy into making this booklet a resource for everyone.

And my Mental Health Toolkit was born.

“It became this project that I was able to put my energy into and I felt like I was making a difference. Change starts in your communities,” Gibbs said.

His sister appreciated tips that might qualify as obvious advice, but were useful tools that could easily slip away from her.

“What are the things that make you feel good about yourself? Identify those things and make them happen regularly,” Gibbs suggested in the book.

What started as a hand-drawn booklet full of stick figures was transformed into a well-crafted work of art with the help of five friends and local artists.

Most of the mental health resources were printed on normal A4 paper in black and white and with large amounts of text, she said.

She wanted the booklet to be accessible to everyone, but also something people would enjoy looking at and reading.

His goal was for the booklet to be distributed as widely as possible and to end up in the hands of the people who needed it.

“There are so many apps,” she said. But if it only helped one person, it would be worth it.

A page inside the booklet created by Ruby Gibbs.

MARK TAYLOR/Stuff

A page inside the booklet created by Ruby Gibbs.

The booklet was not designed to help people on the edge of the cliff, its purpose was to help people form healthy coping mechanisms that better equip them when things hit the fan.

“It’s still a trip. But it’s about starting those healthy conversations,” Gibbs said.

Five hundred booklets were printed in March with funding from the Raglan Food Company, and they sold out in just two weeks.

“It upset me.” she says.

A new batch was printed last week and Gibbs had applied for funding from the Raglan Community Board to print more.

Gibbs said the comments have been amazing.

“A girl stopped me in the street and asked me if I had succeeded, then started crying. She said she picked it up one day when she didn’t realize she needed it.

The booklets have been distributed to paediatricians, schools, counselors, midwives and are available at most Raglan stores.

Some would also be available in Te Awamutu and funded by the Catholic Women’s League.

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