Community Scoop

New Campaign Aims To Highlight Mental Health Issues Stemming From Online Abuse And Cyberbullying

Press Release – Voice of Hope

Cyberbullying is defined as the use of electronic communication to bully a person, typically by sending messages of an intimidating or threatening nature. The campaign You Wouldnt Say It To Their Face produced by mental health charity Voices of Hope …

Cyberbullying is defined as “the use of electronic communication to bully a person, typically by sending messages of an intimidating or threatening nature.” The campaign You Wouldn’t Say It To Their Face produced by mental health charity Voices of Hope involves a series of videos including lived experience interviews and a social experiment which shows the impact that cyberbullying can have on someone’s mental well-being.

Voices of Hope has worked with national online safety organisation Netsafe on this campaign. 45% of New Zealanders have experienced online harm in the past 12 months. Young people are significantly more likely to experience online harm – 59% among 18-25 year olds (Netsafe via Colmar Brunton, July 2021). It has also been found in Netsafe’s research that nearly 1 in 5 youth are unable to take part in daily activities due to a negative experience online, this shows the true impact cyber abuse can have on people’s lives and well-being.

International dancer and choreographer Kiel Tutin candidly shared part of his journey for this campaign. Kiel experienced intense trolling online last year when tens of thousands of Twitter accounts behind nameless persona’s created untrue and negative posts that attacked him both professionally and personally (his video will be released on Wednesday 22nd September). High school students and members of Netsafe’s Youth Action Squad have also lent their lived experience voices to the campaign.

“We hope that this campaign will show the impact an unnecessary act like cyberbullying can have on people’s well-being, especially as social media has become such a prominent part of everyday life for many people” says spokesperson Genevieve Mora.

“The more that mental health is seen as less of a taboo subject and spoken openly and responsibly about, the more we can move to breaking the lingering stigma and continue advocating for better mental health outcomes especially considering how bad our current mental health statistics are.”

Voices of Hope asked their Instagram community about their experiences with cyberbullying. Over half of those who took part in the survey polls had experienced cyberbullying and 87% of those said that it had impacted their well-being. Over 300 people described how they felt during these experiences with responses including “made me want to give up”, “destroyed my health”, “made me feel powerless”, “constantly feeling on edge” and “I wanted to disappear.” The majority of those people also weren’t surprised to hear that digital harm acts had only increased in the past year (Netsafe informed us that the amount of digital harm reports only continues to rise).

Cyberbullying exists. It is hateful, harmful and hurtful. And it needs to stop.

1737, Need to talk? Free call or text 1737 to talk to a trained counsellor.

Notes for editors:

You Wouldn’t Say It To Their Face features interviews with people with lived experience speaking candidly about their own journeys with mental health and how the cyberbullying impacted them whilst raising awareness of the seriousness of the issue.

Voices of Hope is a mental health charity based around the experiences of mental illness survivors Jazz Thornton and Genevieve Mora. We aim to create and implement change for mental health, whilst raising awareness and providing hope through the voices of those with lived experience.

Supporting material:

You Wouldn’t Say It To Their Face campaign photography taken by Shelley Te Haara is available here.

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