Blue Stories Project: Sharing Journeys out of Perinatal Depression in Te Whanganui-a-Tara Wellington
A nationwide perinatal depression awareness campaign
Coming to Johnsonville, Wellington. Opening event: Sat 11th March, 2pm – Exhibition dates: 11th March to 10th April, 2023
Storytelling is powerful. It communicates, it inspires, and it brings us together. The Blue Stories Project: sharing journeys out of perinatal depression is a nationwide campaign of exhibitions, audio interviews and posters, curated to make perinatal depression more visible and to stimulate much needed conversation through storytelling. From the 11th of March to the 10th of April, the exhibition comes to Te Whanganui-a-Tara Wellington and will feature local stories at the Johnsonville Library, Waitohi Hub.
In 2022, Treena Cooper was the general manager of national charity, Perinatal Anxiety and Depression Aotearoa (PADA). Treena says that:
“Being able to talk about perinatal distress is so important. The Blue Stories Project gives women the chance to share their journey, how they navigated through it and found their way out of it. We can empower people by sharing stories, reaching people who may need help but are too afraid to reach out. The project will also help educate communities to recognise the problem, how to support those with perinatal distress and how to access help when they need it. Taking the Blue Stories Project around Aotearoa will give the chance for all women to know they are not alone on their parenting journey.”
One in five women suffer from depression during or following the birth of their child. The figure for men is not much better, with statistics of one in ten. Despite global conversations about the mental health crisis, for the most part perinatal depression remains a hidden illness, swept under the carpet, with help underfunded.
Illustrator, designer and creator of the Blue Stories Project: sharing journeys out of perinatal depression, Karolina Gorton, saw a need for the public sharing of the very real and unique stories that so often remain untold.
The exhibition is being created in collaboration with Greenstone Doors and The Ruth Project, another two Wellington-region based organisations that offer support to those experiencing perinatal distress. Greenstone Doors is a pregnancy focused centre offering practical and emotional support to women and their whānau. Services include free counseling for postnatal depression, grief and loss and other significant life issues. Wairarapa-based The Ruth Project is a non-profit community organisation purposed to support families in their perinatal mental health journey. They help families survive until they are healed and empowered to do it themselves.
The public is warmly invited to the Blue Stories Project opening event at Johnsonville Library at the Waitohi Hub on Saturday the 11th of March at 2pm. There will be a selection of special guest speakers, including the project initiator, Karolina Gorton. The community will be invited to view the exhibition, to kōrero, and an afternoon tea will be provided. “We hope it will destigmatise perinatal mental health and make it easier to have conversations with whānau, friends and services,” says Treena Cooper. Storytelling is powerful. This exhibition invites the community to come together to connect, communicate and be inspired to bring perinatal depression out of hiding.
Blue stories Project has received funding and support from Nelson City Creative Communities Scheme, Tasman District Creative Communities Scheme, Perinatal Anxiety and Depression Aotearoa (PADA), Perinatal Support Nelson, Venue Tech, Waitohi Hub, Toi Pōneke Arts Centre, Absolutely Positively Wellington City Council and National Lottery Community Grants.
Need local support now? Please reach out to Greenstone Doors at [email protected], The Ruth Project at [email protected] or PADA www.pada.nz. For information on Blue Stories Project exhibitions in other centres, to read a selection of Blue Stories online and to listen to audio interviews, visit www.bluestoriesproject.com, you can also access this via our QR code which will be on display next to the exhibitions.
Need local support now? Please reach out to Greenstone Doors at [email protected], The Ruth Project at [email protected] or PADA www.pada.nz. For information on Blue Stories Project exhibitions in other centres, to read a selection of Blue Stories online and to listen to audio interviews, visit www.bluestoriesproject.com, you can also access this via the QR code which will be on display next to the exhibitions.
Karolina Gorton, Project Coordinator and Illustrator, ph. 021 028 66086
Related online sites:
Nationwide exhibition dates:
Marlborough District Library, Blenheim – in collaboration with Maternal Mental Wellbeing Marlborough from 25th of February until 11th of March 2023
Rangiora Community Health Service, Tauranga – in collaboration with True Colours – Honouring the Mother from 18th of March until 15th of April 2023