Reach Out Stories and News

Catch up on our latest Reach Out stories and mental health awareness events here.

John Kirwan shares his experience of mental health

In 2021, John Kirwan (JK) gave an inspiring and moving presentation at the first Project Reach Out fundraising event, held at Tantalus Estate on Waiheke Island. In his presentation, JK spoke from the heart about his experience of depression, during his All Black years.

He talked openly about how this experience made him feel, and what he did to address it, crucially reframing it as an illness, not a weakness. He was also able to articulate and share some of the strategies he developed to manage his depression.

Accepting his depression, talking about it, understanding it and seeking help were key factors in John’s recovery journey. He stressed the importance of having a daily mental health plan, “do one thing every day or DOT.” His own DOT includes meditation, reading, cooking and playing the guitar. He also talked about the importance particularly for young men, of showing vulnerability, reaching out to others and asking for support.

We are very grateful to JK for his openness and generosity.

Debra Lampshire

Debra Lampshire Interview

Listen to the interview with Deborah Lampshire

Debra Lampshire has an extensive background as a mental health educator. Debra held the position of Consumer Consultant to Auckland District Health Board (ADHB) the largest in New Zealand, for five years, providing consumer advisory services. Debra made a substantial contribution to the evolution of consumer advisory services to the independent, professional and robust structure that it is today.

Debra is employed by ADHB as a Project Manager for the psychological interventions for enduring mental illness project. In this unique and innovative position Debra works in the clinical setting leading the development of psychological strategies for positive symptoms of psychosis and the first non-clinician to do so.

Debra is also a senior tutor with The University of Auckland’s Centre for Mental Health Research and Policy Development. Debra has both an academic and research role. Her work has been presented as key notes and workshops/symposia at numerous conferences both nationally and internationally.

Debra has transferred her 30 years of the lived experience of recovery, voice hearing and the shared experiences of the consumers she has worked with, into a wealth of knowledge that is collaborative, interactive and empowering. She is a prominent leader and mentor to others within the service-user and clinical movement in New Zealand and a well known trainer, educator and advocate within national and international mental health services.

Debra is the current Chairperson for ISPS New Zealand.