We embrace mental health awareness week

2 minute(s) to read

At Cubro we help those with physical disabilities to lead better lives. But one in four New Zealanders suffer from a serious disability we cannot see – anxiety and depression.

Caring for our mental health is more important than ever which is why we invest in a range of wellness initiatives to support our team. Cubro Occupational Therapist Sophie Lister has a special interest in this area having suffered from anxiety herself, and having worked in the child and youth mental health field prior to joining our company.

“All of us at some stage in life will be affected by mental illness – either personally, or through someone we know,” she explains. “COVID really brought to light the need to have wellness support in our workplace as people had to work from home and became disconnected from each other.”

An Employee Assistance Programme (EAP) is now in place which offers free services such coaching, counselling, legal and financial assistance for Cubro staff, and Sophie has set up regular online “stretch and breathe” sessions which allows team members to take 10 minutes out of their day to re-centre and focus on their body and mind.

“During lockdown we had up to 30 people joining each session which was brilliant. I take people through some gentle stretching exercises and full body scans… I’ll get them to compare how they feel at the start to how they feel at the end. The impact of teaching these people various breathing techniques is they then tell their family and friends about it which is really cool.”

Holistic nutritionist Grace Mortimer recently gave an online presentation to Cubro staff about the link between mental health and gut health. And Cubro’s in-house chef prepares a healthy lunch for staff each day to encourage and support healthy lifestyle choices.  

Sophie applauds the theme of this year’s Mental Health Awareness Week (26 Sept – 2 Oct) which is ‘reconnect with the people and places that lift you up.’

“Reconnecting is vital. Working from home during COVID meant people were isolated. It’s great we’re back in the office again where people can enjoy the social interaction and being around their colleagues. We are always looking for ways and events to connect with each other.”

Sophie is very aware that mental health is a hidden disability. “It’s often the people who are the loudest and most vibrant that have things going on in the background that you wouldn’t pick up on. So the more we talk about it, the better everyone will be and the better we can support each other.”

At Cubro we believe mental health is a cornerstone of life. We encourage everyone to take the time to check in with themselves and their loved ones, and to draw on the knowledge, skills and resources available to boost our mental health and our collective support.

Mā te whakarongo, ka mōhio
Through listening, comes knowledge
Mā te mōhio, ka mārama,
Through knowledge, comes understanding
Mā te mārama, ka matau,
Through understanding, comes wisdom
Mā te matau, ka ora
Through wisdom, comes wellbeing


Learn more about our wellness programme