Kia ora koutou, I’m Josie, my pronouns are she/her, and I’m a peer supporter at Life Matters. Currently, I’m completing my Master’s degree in Psychology at the University of Otago, with a goal of becoming a psychologist one day. I joined the Life Matters team at the beginning of this year, and the experience so far has been invaluable. Often, the art of connection can be overlooked and becomes an effort during difficult times. I believe Life Matters emulates how powerful connecting with others can be, offering a kind, listening ear to anyone who needs it. I feel the positive impact of peer support has been reciprocal between myself and individuals I have supported. I have absolutely loved providing support and value the bravery of every person that walks through the Hope Centre door. To me, Life Matters represents a safe space with complete absence of judgement, where connection is at the heart of what we do. Being involved in the work of the Hope Centre has enhanced my awareness of the current state of the mental health system, educated me in suicide prevention and evoked motivation to continue creating meaningful impact in the community. I always look forward to coming into the Hope Centre and am endlessly grateful for the opportunity to be a part of the team.
Volunteering for Life Matters presented the opportunity to be a part of the planning committee for this year’s World Suicide Prevention Day event. While interruptions of COVID-19 meant the event had to be online, it was such a meaningful experience. I was able to incorporate my passion for song-writing into this event, by writing and performing an original song for the online series. This was a song called “Breathing Out”, which communicated the idea that hope is always present, no matter the challenges one is facing. I’m really passionate about implementing optimal lifestyle behaviours as a form of self-care, acting as a holistic approach to managing stress. This is reflected in my love for teaching group fitness classes at Les Mills. The benefits exercise had on my mental health motivated me to become an instructor to cultivate similar impact, and I teach a variety of classes, including functional core, high intensity cycle, and even mixed martial arts! I believe finding a form of movement that you love can be so powerful towards wellbeing. Volunteering at Life Matters has certainly been a highlight of my year, and I would love to continue advocating for individuals, providing them with the support they deserve.
You can view our team of peer supporters and find out a bit more about them on this page.