Krissy Mackintosh, aka Krissy Mack, is the heart and soul behind Tairāwhiti-based men's mental health and suicide prevention charity #Hear4U. Krissy and her team have seen and continue to engage with hundreds of men in an area of the country that has faced far more than just the effects of Cyclone Gabrielle.
Part of the #hear4u approach is fitness and fun, and next weekend nearly 250 Tairāwhiti residents are partaking in the Taupō half marathon.
Mackintosh told REX mornings host Hamish McKay, who is running the half-marathon with his weekend co-host Rebecca Greaves to fundraise for #Hear4U, that they are running to represent suicide prevention and men's mental health awareness.
"5km to 21km is the majority of entries but we've got a couple of legends doing the full marathon," she said.
Mackintosh explained that a lot of Kiwis struggle with just feeling that they can open up about how they are feeling, particularly when they are struggling, so putting a fun activity behind a serious cause often helps encourage those conversations.
"It's a hard enough topic to talk about at the best of times but I think it's just making it a little bit easier to speak up and share #itsokaytonotbeokay."
REX host Hamish McKay recently spoke at Kia Kaha, a #Hear4U event in Gisborne which Mackintosh said inspired a great response.
"In the week following we had about 46 people send messages through, emails, signing up for counselling or other wellness programs.
"Massive, massive celebration to you Hamish, thank you so much."
To donate to Hamish McKay and Rebecca Greaves check out their give-a-little page here.
Listen to the full chat between Director & Project Manager at #Hear4U Krissy Mackintosh and Hamish McKay above.