I WRITE today to speak to you about something that has been triggering my mind for the past five to six years. The one thing that has been playing on my mind is the increasing rates of suicide. Our people are taking their own lives and it’s about time we look to strategies that can stop the rates from increasing. You are all probably thinking ‘who am I to be writing this article?’
At the age of 10 I lost a brother to suicide. He was 18 when he passed on. He was the one thing that I held close to my heart. I lost him at such a young age to something that can be prevented. Together as a community I believe we can prevent this.
According to Kyle MacDonald, who is an NZ Herald reporter, “one person in New Zealand (is) dead, by their own hand, every 15 hours”. To me, that is sad. He also says that, “by ethnicity, rates are highest for Maori. When it comes to gender, for every woman that dies by suicide, three men do.”
Maori have the highest rates? We need to do something about this. We can’t just let our people suffer from something that is preventable. I think that we need to start here in Gisborne. We need to be putting together more programmes where we can talk about these kind of issues. We need to be making people aware of suicide and what it’s doing. When my brother died it ripped us all apart. Just imagine what it does to other families.
I think that we need more than awareness months or weeks where we take the time to raise awareness about issues such as mental health, suicide and so much more. It needs to be so that everyone in society is aware. It can’t be just something that we live with, it has to be something we deal with.
I highly believe that we need easier access to counsellors in Gisborne for adults and primary kids. It is easier for secondary students because they have their own school counsellor. This could help for starters. Also, I feel as if we need more qualified counsellors in New Zealand. Counsellors are important. I can’t imagine a life without counsellors.
I want to be the one to say that I’m here with wide open arms. If ever you feel the way my brother did before he passed away, please come and talk to me. I won’t ever turn my back. If this means that there is one less person taking their own life from suicide, then of course I will be more than happy to be there to support. People who aren’t struggling, please be there for the ones who are. It will make society a better place.
If ever you feel suicidal and you are Christian, talk to God about it.
I hope that this hasn’t been difficult to read because of the topic. I hope it hasn’t been sad. Suicide can be prevented. I encourage you after reading this article to wear a green top because green symbolises hope. We need hope for a better future.
• LIFELINE: 0800 543 354 (available 24/7)
• SUICIDE CRISIS HELPLINE: 0508 828 865 (0508 TAUTOKO) (available 24/7)
• YOUTHLINE: 0800 376 633
• NEED TO TALK? Free call or text 1737 (available 24/7)
• KIDSLINE: 0800 543 754 (available 24/7)
• WHATSUP: 0800 942 8787 (1pm to 11pm)
• DEPRESSION HELPLINE: 0800 111 757