Kiwis around the country are putting on their gumboots on Friday 5th of April to raise money for youth counselling.
For many depression is like walking through mud everyday. New Zealander of the year, Mike King and I Am Hope are asking New Zealander's to put their gumboots and walk a day in the shoes of someone struggling with mental health.
Gumboot Friday's Founder Mike King says it is a fun fundraising initiative to ignite positive conversations about mental health in schools and within communities.
Last year in New Zealand 137 young people died by suicide and it is estimated another 3500 attempted to take their own lives, making it one of the leading countries in the world for youth suicide. The Government agencies are doing all they can but some young people are stuck waiting up to six months to receive counselling.
Communications Manager from I am Hope, Amber Hall says conversations on mental health have definitely been moving forward in the past few years, with less of the 'she'll be right' attitude.
"New Zealanders will trip over themselves to help someone, if someone says I need it, but we need to learn to say it first".
Hall expresses how important it is for New Zealand to have the resources to support those who are walking through that mud and to teach them that it’s okay to ask for help.
Many schools around the country have been getting involved in this fundraising event, with students from The Design School in Palmerston North, designing gumboots the way they see mental health to raise money for Gumboot Friday.
37-year-old, Anita Bismark says her gumboot represents a glitter of hope for the nation, the warmth of love for those affected by mental illness.
Mike King says Gumboot Friday is set to become an annual event, with planning already underway for 2020.