Counsellors around New Zealand are giving free counselling sessions to celebrate Mental Health Awareness Week, 5 - 11 October.
Selected New Zealand Association of Counsellors (NZAC) members have volunteered to give free counselling to a member, or members, of their community to help people understand the benefits of counselling.
They will collectively give over 25 hours of free counselling during the week.
NZAC president, Robyn McGill, says she hopes this will help make people aware that taking care of mental health is just as important as having a physical check-up.
"The offer of a free session may just spur some people to act on feelings they've had for a while and don't know what to do with," she says.
"It's a way we can help show members of our communities that there are people out there who can help them deal with the tough stuff that we all go through at some point."
Ms McGill says this is the first year NZAC have taken on such an initiative, and she hopes it will continue in future.
"The Mental Health Foundation are doing a fantastic job raising awareness of these important issues and creating a national dialogue about them, and NZAC hope to help spread that message," she says.
"Counselling is a valuable solution for anyone facing personal challenges – we want people to know that although it might be scary to front up and talk about them at first, that's the first step to facilitating positive change."
Visit www.nzac.org.nz/latest_news.cfm to view the free counselling sessions being offered by NZAC members.