National | Mental Health

Hundreds to grow mullets for mental health

Made famous in the 1980′s, the mullet is making a return - all in the name of mental health awareness

In a celebration of the iconic 1980s hairstyle and a commitment to mental health awareness, The Mullet Matters campaign is making a triumphant return, encouraging individuals to embrace the iconic mullet while raising funds for the Mental Health Foundation.

Last year’s inaugural event saw the participation of nearly 700 mullet enthusiasts who proudly sported their distinctive hairstyles across Aotearoa. This collective effort initiated crucial conversations about mental health and successfully raised over $130,000 in support of the Mental Health Foundation, a prominent charity focused on mental health promotion.

Among the returning participants is Hayden McGehan from Ōtautahi, Christchurch, who believes in the mullet’s unique power to initiate conversations about mental health. Hayden notes, “You don’t have to walk up to someone and say, ‘Do you want to talk about mental health?’ Someone’s going to come up to you and be like, ‘What’s up with the mullet?’ That’s your in.”

Last year, McGehan, a freelance illustrator, went above and beyond by creating a mullet-wearing character for friends who operate a barbershop. Inspired by The Mullet Matters experience, he permanently inked the character as a tattoo, ensuring a lasting reminder of the impactful event. “I don’t know if I’ll ever get rid of the mullet but the tattoo will be there forever – that whole event, I’m never going to forget it because it was so powerful.”

The funds raised through The Mullet Matters will contribute to supporting the Mental Health Foundation’s essential mental health resources. These resources are offered free of charge to people experiencing mental distress this year, as well as those who support them.

The foundation distributes approximately a million free mental health resources across the nation each year, covering topics such as suicide prevention, well-being, depression, anxiety, suicide loss, and more. Blake Taylor from Taranaki, another returning mullet enthusiast, attests to the value of these resources, stating, “I have some hanging up in my office, and having them for free, without the barrier of cost, for our people who are seeking help is amazing.”

As The Mullet Matters gains momentum, it not only showcases a diverse array of hairstyles but also serves as a catalyst for meaningful conversations about mental health, fostering a supportive community across New Zealand.