We all have a role to play in preventing suicide

6 Oct, 2015


The Mental Health Foundation acknowledges the family, whanau and friends of the 564 New Zealanders who died by suicide in the last year.

“Every death by suicide is a tragedy,” says MHF Director of Programme Design and Delivery, Moira Clunie.

“As a country we all need to think about what we can do as individuals, whanau and communities to support people when they feel like taking their own lives is their only option. The statistics tell us there needs to be greater attention to meeting the needs of young people and Maori men in particular.”

Research shows that most people who attempt suicide don’t want to die – they just want their pain to end or can't see another way out of their situation. Support from people who care about them, and connection with their own sense of culture, identity and purpose, can help them to find a way through.

“It can be extremely overwhelming and distressing to experience suicidal thoughts,” says Ms Clunie. “And when someone comes to us saying they’re thinking about suicide, it can be hard to know what to do.

“If you’re worried about someone, asking them about suicide will not increase their risk, but ignoring their distress can. For a person who is struggling, having a chance to talk to someone who will listen without judgement can be a great relief.”

We all have a role in recognising when our loved ones are going through hard times, and reaching out to those who may be struggling.

“If someone has thoughts or feelings about suicide, it's important to take them seriously. It can be really hard for someone who is suicidal to reach out. If someone tells you they are thinking about suicide, keep them talking. Encourage them to get help and talk about what they are going through.”

More information about suicide prevention, including what to do when you’re worried about someone, coping with suicidal thoughts and what to do after a suicide attempt can be found at www.mentalhealth.org.nz/suicideprevention

The Coroner's latest statistics on suicide were released 6 October 2015.

For further information or comment, please contact:
Sophia Graham
Communications & PR Specialist
021 740 454
Mental Health Foundation of New Zealand

Note to media:

Research has demonstrated that there is a strong relationship between suicide reporting and a rise in suicidal thoughts and behaviours. The risk increases when someone identifies with a person whose suicide is reported and when stories are prominent or repetitive. Stories about suicide have the greatest impact on people who are already vulnerable.

Please include helplines when covering this story. Research has shown that people are more likely to access help or advice when appropriate services are included in stories.

The helplines are below. If you only have room for one, please use the Suicide Crisis Line (0508 TAUTOKO – 0800 828 865).

The Mental Health Foundation is available to advise and provide information to media who wish to report on suicide – please contact Sophia Graham.