The September 9th issue of the Listener has an excellent and important article by Nicky Pellegrino, called Taking Off The Mask.

The article explores the fact that at any point in time, 20% of people in NZ are experiencing problematic anxiety, distress or depression.

That’s right, if you’re at work as you read this, and you look around the room, at least one of your colleagues is likely to be experiencing problematic anxiety, distress or depression.  And it’s more than likely that person hasn’t yet sought help.


Because, many people are reluctant to admit to themselves or others that they’ve reached crisis point. Many people believe that to seek help is a sign of weakness, or they fear being judged, if they open up about how they are feeling, due to the stigma associated with mental illness.

On a more positive note, the Listener article notes that an increasing number of workplaces are taking steps to create a well-being culture that makes it easier, safer and more comfortable for people to discuss their emotional well-being with their manager and/or trusted colleagues.

This trend is partly driven by the need for employers to ensure the physical and mental well-being of their employees under the Health and Safety Act. While it is a move in the right direction, there is still some way to go. Preliminary analysis from the 2016 NZ Health and Lifestyles Survey suggests that only a fifth of workers would tell their employer if they were diagnosed with a mental illness and just a tenth indicated they would tell their colleagues.

Hearteningly, Mike King and Shaun Robertson CEO of the Mental Health Foundation, who were interviewed for the article, say that over the last twelve months they've noticed a real attitude change among people they've met, with more and more people opening up about their emotional state.

"What I've noticed is people want permission to admit we're all struggling. Everyone wants to take their mask off."
~ Mike King

The question is: 'Why are 1 in 5 people experiencing distress?'

One of the main reasons is excessive pressure. People are faced with an ever increasing number of demands on their time and resources such as increased workload; information overload; social media. Without the support, skills and resources to handle the build-up of pressure a person can soon pass their personal 'tipping point' and spiral down into anxiety, stress or depression.

I encourage you to "take off your mask"
If you are experiencing problematic anxiety, stress or depression then I most strongly encourage you to "take off your mask," and ask for the support and help you need.  You might choose to talk to your doctor, a family member, a trusted friend, a colleague, your employer or one of the many agencies that offer advice and support (See below).   The important thing is take action.

Where to get help:

Free call or text 1737 any time for support from a trained counsellor.


0800 543 354 or (09) 522 2999 (Available 24/7)


0800 376 633


0800 726 666

Support Groups

The Mental Health Foundation's website ( has a list of regional support groups.

What Next?

I help people to develop personal mastery so they can achieve the success, health and happiness they desire. In particular I help people to reduce distress and anxiety and avoid chronic stress. If you'd like to explore how I can help you, let's talk. You can contact me on 021 056 8389 or email me at

Until next week,

Go well

Tony helps individuals to harness the power of their mind to achieve success and well-being in life, work and business. Tony's particular area of expertise is in helping people perform under pressure and gain freedom from worry, anxiety and stress. Tony’s solution focused approach to coaching uses a range of techniques drawn from the fields of co-active coaching, hypnosis, positive psychology and neuro-linguistic programming (NLP).

Contact Tony today to discuss how he can help you, or if you think Tony could help someone you know, you might like to encourage them to get in touch with him.