Tough Talk is comprised of two people: Sam, the founder and Kristina, who helps manage all things. They drive around New Zealand interviewing men. Men share their stories of times when they faced challenges and how they overcame them. These are interviews that help break the stigma of men experiencing mental health related issues and provides tools that each individual has cultivated for themselves. Tough Talk also provides free, practical tools for the community to use in the form of free courses, videos, and posters.
I'm a young Kiwi Psychologist getting off the beaten track to explore New Zealand & film conversations about men's stories. I discover solutions by asking men to share the tools they use to cope & improve their wellbeing. Talking is tough, so it makes you tough to talk.
"I've gone off the beaten track walked by many Clinical Psychologists. I first experienced the benefits of learning how to calmly focus my mind when I was having panic attacks as a young man - mindfulness helped me work through my struggles with confidence and I started to grow into the person I always wanted to be. I progressed from avoiding public speaking to giving talks, teaching classes and winning prizes for presenting my work.
I trained at Otago University and then decided to start my career by jumping into the deep end - by working in a rehabilitation centre for people with serious psychiatric disorders. In this job I began teaching mindfulness to groups and witnessed again the powerful positive impact that learning this skill can have. I also noticed that the majority of people in the hospital were men. I suspected that the culture of being a "hard man" was playing a role, as many of the men there had not felt able to talk about their problems when they had started to develop, or had not been encouraged by others to do so.
I went on to work as private practitioner and found my style resonated with New Zealand men, who sought me out for coaching and therapy. Even with everyday blokes I continued to see the Kiwi male culture playing a role in the problems they were facing, as many of them hadn't explored what was going on with anyone else before seeing me, particularly with other men. I also discovered that many of these men had found their own ways to be mindful, through activities like fishing, hunting, swimming and running. When I helped these men to translate this skill to other areas of their life they no longer needed my support. So I thought, why not do this on a bigger scale? Tough Talk was born."