The Barwon Health Foundation launch ‘Shaka Up for Mental Health’

The Barwon Health Foundation launch ‘Shaka Up for Mental Health’

The Barwon Health Foundation have launched a new social media campaign for Mental Health

With its origins shrouded in complete mystery, the shaka has become one of Hawaii’s hallmark gestures – and one that has extended to the rest of the world.

The base concept is simple: extend your pinkie and thumb while curling your pointer, middle and ring fingers, and boom, you’ve got yourself a shaka.

Over time, however, the shaka has evolved and formed variants, each with different intricacies in both form and meaning. Mostly though, it is used to express approval, solidarity and friendship.

With the shaka at the helm, The Barwon Health Foundation have launched a new social media campaign to highlight the mental health issues many people are currently facing during the pandemic.

Coined ‘The Shaka Up for Mental Health’, this campaign is encouraging people in our community to check-in with mates as well as help raise much-needed funds for vital mental health initiatives at Barwon Health.

On average, around 1300 men require treatment for mental illness yearly at Barwon Health and there is evidence that COVID-19 has increased the number of people seeking support this year.

With emotionally taxing event like COVID, it’s no surprise that it has had a significant effect on the mental health of people in our region. We’re constantly hearing bad news, we’re reminded of the uncertainty surrounding the virus, we’ve had to completely change our lives, our financial situations have changed, we’re isolating and feeling alone, and we’re also dealing with the anxiety around our own safety and the safety of our loved ones.

Checking in on your friends and family is something that can make a big difference to those struggling during this time, and that where is campaign comes in, putting an emphasis on the symbolism of the shaka gesture.

To get involved in the campaign, The Barwon Health Foundation is encouraging people to take a video of themselves sending a virtual shaka to a mate to let them know you are thinking of them. Tag your mate and #shakaupformenshealth to help raise awareness.

You can also make a $5 shaka donation to the Barwon Health Foundation if it’s within your means. The $5 donation symbolises the 1 in 5 Australians aged 16 to 85 who experience a mental illness each year.

Most importantly though, continue sending ‘shakas’ to your mates during this pandemic – reaching out has the potential to save a life.

Donate to the #shakaupformentalhealth today here and send a video to a mate on social media.