Midwifery student and Mum of three Ella West will be hiking up the Wairere Falls near Matamata in May to help other Kiwi parents experiencing perinatal anxiety and depression.
Ella is taking part in the 'Choose to Move for Perinatal Mental Health' challenge.
She says she knows how important mental wellbeing and staying active are for new parents. She experienced postpartum anxiety and depression after the birth of her first son.
“I started walking and hiking when my youngest son turned just a month old; exploring places I never knew existed, then suddenly feeling more connected to the world and myself and becoming happy again.
“I’ve become aware of the importance of self care, support and a healthy lifestyle,” Ella says. “It's a slow process but having a kind mind, body and soul helps tremendously!”
Ella has pledged her hike to raise awareness, and raise funds, for PADA (Perinatal Anxiety and Depression Aotearoa) to enable them to support the wellbeing of whānau throughout Aotearoa.
She has set up a fundraising registry on The Good Registry.
“I’m taking part in this fundraising event because I love nature and being outside, and I also realise how vital mental health is, especially for new mamas and papas.
“It's so important to listen to our bodies and take good care of it for ourselves, our whānau and our new pēpi. It's honestly an honour being involved in this and I'm happy to support others in any way possible!”
In Aotearoa, 25% of women suffer from anxiety or depression during or after pregnancy and 10% of men experience depression after a child is born.
PADA is a national organisation advocating for anyone experiencing mental illnesses as a result of pregnancy, childbirth or early parenthood.
The ‘Choose to Move for Perinatal Mental Health' challenge is happening in Perinatal Mental Health Awareness Week, May 1-7, and Ella plans to do the 3-4 hour hike up the 253 metre falls on May 2.
Anyone can sign up their own personal challenge - you get to choose however, wherever and whenever you want to #choosetomove - hike, run, walk, swim, cycle.. dance! You can find out more and sign up on the PADA website and/or create your own fundraising page at The Good Registry here.
You can also donate to support Ella’s Wairere Falls climb here.