Welcome to our Chocolate King Ben Affleck.  Yes, you all might know Ben from the Skinny ads on New Zealand TV.  How did I connect with Ben, well I found this young man on Instagram and messaged him!! This is what I do, I never ask for permission I just do!!  What’s the worst that could happen Ben would say ‘NO’? So I met with Ben one Sunday afternoon in Dunners for coffee and we talked. I found out that Ben was from Balclutha and he even went to Balclutha Primary School, this was my Primary School!  But what I loved about Ben is that he is a real Kiwi man, not a bit of him is fake and in this social world there is a lot of fake and when you suffer from mental illness this fakeness can eat you up at times. 


NZ Mental Illness Facts 

In New Zealand, the suicide rate for men is three times that of women.  Suicide and suicidal tendencies are still some of the hardest issues to talk about socially.  It can be easier to approach the subject by having a concrete idea of where men are most vulnerable and what triggers can often lead to an attempt on one’s life.  Those aged between 15-24 have the highest rates of suicide, and Maori suicide rates are significantly higher than non-Maori suicide rates. Some of the most common triggers for suicide are the breakup of a relationship, debilitating physical illness or accident, death of someone close, a suicide of someone famous or from a peer group, bullying, or discrimination.  Redundancy can also be added to this list, redundancy is a hard one that we don’t like to talk about, now we are going to talk about it.  You feel worthless being made redundant, you feel like you have done something wrong to cause the redundancy to happen.  It’s the unknown that is scary, not having job security how will I provide for my family?  The day you are made redundant is not the end of the redundancy this is the beginning and you become so vulnerable.  You can miss the people you worked with so much, and sometimes you become closer to these people you worked with than your own family.   I know we cannot change a redundancy but we can learn from each experience so we make the right steps to continue to respect the staff being made redundant during and after the redundancy. 

info provided by https://www.menshealthweek 

Need to talk…I know how hard it is to make the first step and talk.     

National helplines

Need to talk? Free call or text 1737 any time for support from a trained counselor 

Lifeline – 0800 543 354 (0800 LIFELINE) or free text 4357 (HELP)

Suicide Crisis Helpline – 0508 828 865 (0508 TAUTOKO)

Healthline – 0800 611 116

Samaritans – 0800 726 666 


Inspiration From Ben

When I was talking with Ben we spoke in-depth about the redundancy, I am very open and honest about the whole process you have to be so that people understand the full extent of it and of course it helps the healing process by talking out loud to someone else and not just yourself all the time.  During the conversation about Cadburys something Ben said hit a real nerve “ they lost touch with the people at the heart of a business, the staff on the factory floor.” He was one hundred percent right if businesses look after their staff will look after the business. Your staff is the most important people in the cog in the wheel.  It is so disheartening today to see a business so focused on money and not it’s people. The Chocolate Queen and Chocolate King t-shirts are a way to bring people together to make people feel proud and to help raise money for our Kiwi Kids along the way by giving one hundred percent profits back to #iamhope. So let’s learn and celebrate the fantastic youth behind the Chocolate Queen and Chocolate King t-shirts.  Our youth in New Zealand are incredibly talented and professional, let’s continue to support them so we grow some more incredible future leaders.


Ben Affleck From Dunedin       

 Tell me your name and what you currently do, and why you decided to do this?   

 Ben Affleck. I am currently a student at the University of Otago where I study primary school teaching. I decided to do this as it sounded like a good opportunity to try something new and help out a good cause. 

What’s your favorite food? 

 Probably pizza or lemons. 

Do you believe things happen for a reason & why?

 I believe that things usually happen as a result of your actions, however, sometimes things happen out of your control and you have to do your best to make them positive in any way you can. 

In what order would you prioritize these four: money, love, career, happiness?

 1. Happiness. 2. Love. 3. Career. 4. Money. 

What is the most important thing you have learned in life so far?

 To make the most of the opportunities that come your way. 

What’s the coolest thing you’ve ever done? ( This question was asked before Ben has viewed his Notion. #iamhope video.  Once Ben views this video sorry Skinny you will lose the coolest thing ever done title ) 

 Probably being involved with the Skinny ads. 

Tell me, how do you feel about climate change?

 I don’t feel like I know enough about it to comment, to be honest. 

Where do you take your fashion inspiration from?

 I feel like I have a casual fashion sense and tend to focus on comfort. 

How does it feel to wear a Chocolate Queen t-shirt and to support #iamhope and to raise money so our Kiwi kids receive more free counseling?

 It feels good to be given an opportunity to show my support for an area that I feel passionate about. 

Give me an empowering message that inspires you?

 Don’t fear failure, fear not having the chance.

Thank you, Ben, for taking the time and opening up about who you are what makes you tick!! Thanks, Ben for eating lots of OCHO chocolate and for being part of our very proud video for #iamhope.  I hope Ben inspires more kiwi men to take up the challenge and become a Chocolate King! Some times with mental illness you just are not sure what to say or are worried you might say the wrong thing.  I know I have had the wrong thing said to me. I believe actions speak louder than words so I hope by seeing more and more people in New Zealand wearing a Chocolate Queen or Chocolate King t-shirt if we are not sure what to say we can at least see that there are people out there that have taken action to support mental health in New Zealand and that they care and are kind.  Never stop being kind New Zealand.  

“Be yourself because everyone else is already taken”

Thank you for your continuing support on this journey,  Megan xx