The Brewers Guild of New Zealand has joined forces with The Good Fight to fund 20 guild brewery members to complete the St John Mental Health First Aid course.

Ava Nakagawa, founder of The Good Fight said the funding would help create a “ripple effect of positive change”.

“We have chosen this as our first funded collaboration simply because we wanted to have the greatest impact, and as mental health affects everyone we felt this was the best way to start that ripple effect of positive change that The Good Fight is all about.” 

The Good Fight works with New Zealand breweries to fund projects that facilitate positive change via education, and this funding comes from a beer brewed with Garage Project, called All Of The Things. 

“This is the first of our positive change initiatives, and the funds are from our very first collab brew with Garage Project.  Pete Gillespie of Garage Project flew down to Christchurch to brew with The Good Fight team, the … proceeds from the sale of that beer are now benefiting our wider industry and beyond. It’s pretty special to see this come to fruition,” Nakagawa said.

According to the St John website, it costs $249 to do the Mental Health First Aid Course.

Brewers Guild of New Zealand executive director, Melanie Kees said she jumped at the chance to work on the initiative.

“Like many industries, brewing and the wider hospitality industry have had it tough the past few years, and with ongoing pressures of being business owners, global shortages and other challenges we knew that this was something we could offer, that would not only support our members, but that the tools and skills they would receive from the St John training would filter through workplaces, communities and families.”

“Mental Health does not discriminate, and often people aren’t aware that colleagues or even themselves are not feeling 100%.  Sometimes all it takes is a casual conversation to help open up the lines of communication, and if we can help empower our members to have those everyday conversations then that in itself will make a positive difference”.

The theme of the recent Mental Health Awareness Week this year was about reconnection.

“As an industry we have been disconnected over the past few years,” Kees said. “Our annual conference and awards celebrations were cancelled, and regional gatherings have also been put on hold.  Our industry is built on passion, creativity, and collaboration so this is a perfect way to help encourage our industry to reconnect, be it across industry, individual businesses or with themselves. We hope that the 20 funded places encourage breweries to fund further staff to attend these courses, and of course we hope this encourages other breweries to get involved with The Good Fight.”

You can read more about St John’s Mental Health First Aid Course here.