Global bullying prevention campaign Pink Shirt Day is here. Today, tens of thousands of New Zealanders will wear their pink shirts with pride, spreading aroha and kindness and encouraging others to speak up and stand together to stop bullying.
More than 30,000 official Pink Shirt Day 2021 t-shirts, which are being sold by Cotton On, have been purchased by Kiwis already, with last minute sales continuing in-store throughout Aotearoa on Friday while stocks last. People from schools, workplaces, communities and whānau will stand together to Kōrero Mai, Kōrero Atu, Mauri Tū, Mauri Ora – Speak Up, Stand Together, Stop Bullying!
Mental Health Foundation (MHF) chief executive Shaun Robinson says Pink Shirt Day is a great opportunity for all New Zealanders to take a stand against some of the bullying behaviour that they witness at work, in schools or out in the community.
He says the definition of bullying is that it is deliberate, it involves a misuse of power in a relationship, it is usually repeated or has the potential to be repeated over time, and it involves behaviour that can cause harm.
“If you witness this type of behaviour, we encourage you to awhi/support the person being bullied, or if it’s safe to do so, remove them from the situation altogether,” Mr Robinson says. “Too often this behaviour is not stopped, but it’s time we stepped up and called time on it.”
Mr Robinson says bullying can impact people’s mental wellbeing, leading to an increase in depression, anxiety and suicidal thoughts.
“Diversity in Aotearoa needs to be celebrated. Unfortunately, homophobic and transphobic bullying directed at LGBTQIA+ communities is all too prevalent. Rangatahi/youth are telling us that this kind of bullying is really common. We need to speak up, show that it’s unacceptable behaviour, and stamp out this sort of bullying.”
The money raised through previous Pink Shirt Day campaigns has funded InsideOUT to run rainbow workshops and programmes for a number of years to help create more inclusive schools. It’s something Mr Robinson says the MHF is very proud of.