Jonathan Nabbs (School 2004-2008) struggle with depression in his early twenties gave him an insight into the lack of information available for people going through a similar journey. Earlier this year, he created a resource to help those who find themselves on the same pathway to find health, hope and happiness.
Jonathan realised when he was open to talking about his mental health illness, many of his friends chose him as their confidant to express their own issues. He also identified his way of getting himself through his illness was getting outdoors with nature.
“It is one of the most important things in life to express your emotions and how you’re feeling,” says Jonathan.
He wanted to create a resource for people to turn to where they could read about other people’s journeys of depression from different perspectives. So, he and friend Eve Macfarlane first put out a call to Facebook asking friends who may have their own stories to share. They quickly recognised they needed a more diverse group of people than those within their immediate circle.
“Creating content that was true to the person and represented them well, was what was important to me,” says Jonathan.
After two and a half years curating their book, the final production of How We Got Happy is a compilation of 20 stories from Kiwis in their late 20s-early 30s who struggled with depression in their youth and how they came out the other side. Their profiles include things they’ve learnt, personal experiences and advice they would give their younger selves.
Written in first person, the profiles speak directly to the person reading them.
“Speaking in first person created an intimacy about the book which was important, to let people feel welcome to share their stories and feel like they’re not the only one going through this,” says Jonathan.
Each person’s profile speaks about the wellness tools they used to help them to get through the tough times and how they continue using these wellness tools after their experience with depression.
How We Got Happy was launched in July this year and is available to purchase directly from the How We Got Happy website. All proceeds from book sales are being donated to the Mental Health Foundation of New Zealand.