Opening up on suicide

New Zealand has an appalling suicide rate, especially young people and especially young Maori people.

Every67hours

Our youth suicide rate (25 and under) is the second worst in the developed world.
The teen rate (15-19) is the worst, so high it raises the global average.

People and publications are becoming increasingly willing to talk openly about suicide.

Earlier this year from Jessica McAllen and MANA: THE LAST GOOD-BYE

Māori youth suicide rates are among the highest in the world. Mana talks to those fighting to turn the tide by helping rangatahi find a place to stand.

It is a detailed and sad article.

Today on Morning Report:  Suicide rates for the general population have reduced in a decade; not so for Maori

In the latest instalment of RNZ’s election year series ‘Is this the Brighter Future?’ our Maori issues correspondent Mihingarangi Forbes explores the state of Maori mental health.

And also today NZ Herald have started a series:

2012 was a particularly bad year.
144 youths took their own lives.

An unprecedented 19 were from Northland,
with one as young as 10.

Alarming and very sad.

WHAT BECOMES OF THE

BROKEN-HEARTED

I won’t try to précis the article here. See:

THE UNTOLD STORY OF TEEN SUICIDE IN THE NORTH


Also:

Break The Silence: Education Minister Nikki Kaye says time is right for national conversation about youth suicide

New Education Minister Nikki Kaye says the time is right for a national conversation about youth suicide after successive governments have failed to significantly reduce the number of young people killing themselves.

Only eight weeks into the job, New Zealand’s youngest female Education Minister is tackling the issue with ferocity and urgency.

It’s good to see Kaye driving this very difficult topic which until recently was taboo to talk about.

“Over successive governments youth suicide has been a longstanding issue, but that doesn’t mean we don’t need to take responsibility for that and continue to do more.

“This is about accepting that successive governments haven’t managed to design things in a way that’s made a significant difference, so we’ve just got to keep changing things up.”

“You know I’ve only been the Education Minister for eight weeks, but I do feel a sense of urgency about continuing to make change [in this area],” Kaye said.

She has already met the Government’s chief science advisor and education science adviser to ask “what we could potentially do differently as a country to make sure we are doing everything possible to reduce the number of young people taking their life”.

Suicide needs to be talked about more, especially by anyone contemplating ending their life.

Where to get help:

If you are worried about your or someone else’s mental health, the best place to get help is your GP or local mental health provider. However, if you or someone else is in danger or endangering others, call police immediately on 111.

Or if you need to talk to someone else:

  • LIFELINE: 0800 543 354 (available 24/7)
  • SUICIDE CRISIS HELPLINE: 0508 828 865 (0508 TAUTOKO) (available 24/7)
  • YOUTHLINE: 0800 376 633
  • KIDSLINE: 0800 543 754 (available 24/7)
  • WHATSUP: 0800 942 8787 (1pm to 11pm)
  • DEPRESSION HELPLINE: 0800 111 757 (available 24/7)
  • SAMARITANS: 0800 726 666
  • NEED TO TALK? Free call or text 1737 (available 24/7)

 

 

Leave a comment

36 Comments

  1. MaureenW

     /  July 4, 2017

    These awful figures are worthy of attention. What is more important than a disengaged and largely ignored demographic killing themselves because they have no future either in this country nor within the families they belong to, also ignored?

    Reply
    • Alan Wilkinson

       /  July 4, 2017

      Unless causes are identified, solutions won’t be found. You can’t identify causes if the events are kept secret. No wonder the coroners feel hamstrung. When often the families are blind-sided and when there may be undiagnosed mental health issues it will be hard to identify causes anyway. The effect of secrecy is likely to magnify the copycat tendency within the community that knows about it anyway since there will be no discussion about reasons to hope rather than despair.

      Reply
      • Kevin

         /  July 5, 2017

        One big factor is drugs which may seem strange coming from someone who advocates drug legalisation. But when a drug is legalised society creates it’s own rules around what’s acceptable and what’s not which helps prevent abuse. For example in Belgium the number of heroin addicts have plummeted and addicts are looked down upon.

        Another is trangenderism. The rate of suicide among people who believe they are a female trapped in a male body and vice versa is horrific. Something like six to seven times the average. Yet as a society instead of giving these people treatment for psychosis (and thinking you’re the wrong gender is a psychosis) we play along and even treat it as normal like it’s the new gay.

        Most people who are mentally unstable or depressed don’t kill themselves. But add drugs to the mix and the chances go up considerably. And if they happen to be transgender it’s almost like it’s just a matter of time…

        Reply
        • MaureenW

           /  July 5, 2017

          Not only drug use by the victims, but intergenerational drug use by the victims parents which have in many cases, created the dysfunctional families these children are born in to. In my opinion the drug use is a symptom of poor parenting, lack of education and getting stuck (and staying stuck) in locations that offer no hope of betterment.

          Reply
  2. Children who have children as parents, children who come from units so fractured and broken they can hardly be called families are on a hiding to nothing. When your parent presents so differently to the ones you see on TV or elsewhere in your extended community you fail to understand your place in the world. Understanding your place in this world and valuing yourself in the scheme of things is an important part of belonging. Not “belonging” sets you apart. Isolation, or the perception that that is your reality, is lonely and hard to fight against without support and guidance. An utter lack of parental care/ guidance, the ignorance of cognitive mental health services and access to them renders the child a ticking time bomb.

    So “others” stats have dropped, but Māori ones haven’t. We need a massive heartfelt advance into all Once were Warriors heartlands and we need radical programming to change the outcomes for these neglected, frightened and rudderless kids. While cultural imperatives and Te Reo Maori are grand, it’s mental health care from qualified effective practioners that is needed. That needs to be there for an entire generation before we’ll see the results.

    In the north I fear that generations of deprivation, unemployment, drug abuse and isolationist thinking and treatment have taken their toll. How we turn it round is about direct intervention at every level, starting yesterday. Less blame, less chat more action.

    Reply
    • Pickled Possum

       /  July 5, 2017

      “Children who have children as parents, children who come from units so fractured and broken they can hardly be called families are on a hiding to nothing”
      .
      So true Trav your diagnosis is so correct and true; as is your solution …

      “In the north I fear that generations of deprivation, unemployment, drug abuse and isolationist thinking and treatment have taken their toll. How we turn it round is about direct intervention at every level, starting yesterday. Less blame, less chat more action.”

      Reminds me that some sane people have a handle on what is happening;
      what is Really going to help rebuild a healthy people.

      Thank you Trav for putting it all in a non-judgemental way.
      That this is Life in the world today.

      There is a poem I read long ago but have now forgotten who wrote it,
      this is a paraphrased version from my memory …

      Talk is in
      Action is out
      Never before have I heard
      An avalanche of useless words
      Rained down upon our heads ….

      Reply
    • Gezza

       /  July 5, 2017

      Sometimes it’s more complicated than that trav. It’s often a silent, quiet thing. Everybody tut-tuts & says more must be done to fix it. They assume the causes are really quite simple & someone should just get in there & do it. But if someone does want open up, to talk about it to try & understand it, to try and get other people to understand it. They quickly learn these people have all the simple solutions & they dont actually understand it or want to know any more about it. They just want someone else to fix it.

      Reply
      • Alan Wilkinson

         /  July 5, 2017

        Amen to that, G. Often there is no known fix. Just ways to help make it more bearable to live with.

        Reply
  3. Brown

     /  July 5, 2017

    The cause is, in a word, postmodernism. Everything thing you want and being center of the universe is not what we thought it would be. 22 YO step daughter’s virtual world simply cannot be mated to the real world so wonder she’s miserable – no anchor in reality. If I knew who filled her head with the rubbish that is crippling her we’d have words.

    Reply
    • Gezza

       /  July 5, 2017

      How do you know the rubbish in her head is not just who she is, & you are trying to force her to be you?

      Reply
      • Gezza

         /  July 5, 2017

        And is this how you talk to her? Does she know this is what you think of her?

        Reply
        • Brown

           /  July 6, 2017

          Objectively much of what she believes is lefty and feminist rubbish that does not withstand even shallow debate. She whines that we don’t discuss anything but storms off when we do and she cannot respond to questions about her position statements. She is getting better but its painful to watch her kick against reality. She says she likes debating with me (despite losing every time when facts come into the frame). She knows she’s loved and that people debate with her because they care about her.

          I have her with me for a week in Hong Kong shortly. She will love having a step dad tour guide paying the bills and the agony of a white man having all the stuff and power will go on the back burner.

          Reply
          • Gezza

             /  July 6, 2017

            When she whines you never discuss anything what she means is you don’t discuss anything with her. Discussion is a two way communication thing to her. You invalidate everything on which she has a different viewpoint to hers. You don’t respect her opinions. You harangue & lecture her because as far as you are concerned, she is wrong. You are right. You are always right. And she is too young, immature & stupid to see that you right, because you just are. That’s my take on you, and what you have said here on this page so far.

            Reply
            • Gezza

               /  July 6, 2017

              line 5,1st word ‘hers’ should be ‘yours’.

            • Brown

               /  July 7, 2017

              Good for you. I’m so pleased you cleared that up.

          • Gezza

             /  July 7, 2017

            So, Why didn’t you give me an uptick?

            Reply
  4. patupaiarehe

     /  July 5, 2017

    While the figures in Northland are nothing short of tragic, thousands of kids grow up in similar circumstances, & don’t choose to ‘end themselves’.
    I remember two suicides from when I was at high school. I wasn’t close to either individual, but both were not from poor families.
    One was a prefect, who seemed to have everything to live for. Yet for some unknown reason, he hit a brick wall on his brand new motorbike, after a 100m ‘run up’, in circumstances where there was absolutely no possibility it was accidental. The school did offer counselling to those who knew him, but other than a mention of ‘a tragic accident’ at assembly, that was all they had to say about it. We all knew the truth though…
    The other was an average 5th former, a funny guy who wasn’t one of the popular kids, but was far from a reject either. We worked at the same supermarket after school, but in different departments. I didn’t consider him a real friend, but I knew him well enough to say hello, and share a spliff with him, if I bumped into him at a party. Which I did, just under a week before he hung himself in his parent’s garage. He didn’t even get a mention at school assembly, but I witnessed the aftermath at work. If he could have known how much so many of the girls there would weep for him beforehand, I suspect he wouldn’t have done it.
    So anyway, my point is that I don’t think socio-economic factors are behind our appalling youth suicide rate, more a ‘lack of hope’. A ‘lack of hope’, doesn’t necessarily involve money. Sometimes a ‘lack of hope’, might simply mean that one doesn’t think they can live up to the expectations of others, be they parents, peers, or even one’s partner.

    Reply
    • Gezza

       /  July 6, 2017

      If the people who are supposed to love you unconditionally for who you are constantly tell you you are a fool, annoying, a drain on their energy & financial resources, you will never amount to anything – some people will set out to prove you wrong & succeed in life. Others will process that information internally over & over again. If they can’t change who they are they are, & they come to believe who they are is actually worthless, a buden, it’s an easy step to decide to go. It even seems like the best & most logical thing to do. As long as you are alive you are burden. If you kill yourself, sure, some people you love will be upset. But they will get over it, & you won’t continue to be an ongoing problem for them.

      Reply
      • Alan Wilkinson

         /  July 6, 2017

        Doesn’t sound organic, G.

        Reply
        • Gezza

           /  July 6, 2017

          Why not? If that’s what people are feeling like & they are telling you they are struggling with life and understanding it, haven’t you just told them to shut up.

          Reply
          • Alan Wilkinson

             /  July 6, 2017

            Not at all. What I am saying is that people who are treated badly are not the cause of the problem at all. Not sure what you meant by organic now. I took it to mean a physical origin.

            Reply
            • Gezza

               /  July 6, 2017

              Oh. Thanks. Let me think about this and see if I can explain it a bit better. The short version is that there are number of people for anxiety / depression is genetically programmed. There is quite a range of conditions that can be loose in a gene pool. And for some of these people, say, a little bit of love & affection, plus some CBT will not be enough to prevent these symptoms from recurring. Some professionals loose in our MHS system can actually make them feel worse. Especially if they are bright enough to tell the practitioner they don’t trust their judgement.

            • Alan Wilkinson

               /  July 6, 2017

              It’s hard to distinguish genetic from environmental causes when parents provide both. And very early life experiences have life-long impacts.

              Often it seems to me that professionals are as much in the dark as anyone else, often with their own demons, and are at the mercy of current fashions tempered by their personal inclinations and assumptions. And public health care is usually overwhelmed by demand meeting inadequate resource. No magic wands.

            • Gezza

               /  July 6, 2017

              It’s still actually taboo. People can’t understand it if they haven’t experienced it so they’re not actually interested or they just don’t really want to go there. I’ve been opening up a liitle bit & talking about it. Look how many upticks I’ve had. I’m stopping now.

            • Alan Wilkinson

               /  July 6, 2017

              Not sure why you need upticks, G. I’m kind of used to shocked silence for my opinions and take that as secret applause in the absence of sound rebuttal or refutation. But I’ve given you one for encouragement anyway.

            • Gezza

               /  July 6, 2017

              Aw, thanks Al. No it’s not that I need upticks, it’s just that there’s no point in talking about it to people who don’t want to know. Which is something people with these problems learn very quickly. Or they get shunned or ignored, so I never talked about it, and still don’t.

            • MaureenW

               /  July 6, 2017

              @G .. I gave you an uptick too, I don’t think there should be any taboo subjects. Getting different perspectives from others helps provide better insight.

            • Alan Wilkinson

               /  July 6, 2017

              Agreed, it’s no use talking to people with no empathy or a big barrier up on their relevant experience. But there are probably a lot of people not talking about it for the same reasons as you who could be encouraged and relieved to share and discover they are less alone and exceptional than they thought.

              Horrible weather here. Thought we might get some sunshine, but no – first thunder and now more rain. Cold enough might have to light the fire.

            • Conspiratoor

               /  July 6, 2017

              Lots of talk here about ‘mental illness’ and treating kids bad as causative factors.

              I don’t pretend to know anything about this subject, just another jock with an opinion. But it seems to me a contributing factor is our inability to teach our kids essential life skills and that life outside the nest is hard and full of adversity. Kids are to be reasoned with, molly coddled, never disciplined or denied

              So when faced with a very stressful life event they haven’t experienced before, they don’t know what to do. And to deal with the pain, suicide can become their preferred option

              To support this view, a recent Australian study found that “approximately 50 per cent of young suicide victims had experienced a recent stressful life event, such as family conflict or a relationship breakdown. In contrast, just over 20 per cent of the group had a diagnosed mental disorder”‘

              http://www.news.com.au/lifestyle/health/mind/the-most-frightening-thing-about-teen-suicide/news-story/36719df2562bfa4afcc90a202e0960de

            • Gezza

               /  July 6, 2017

              “Lisa shows me a photo of her son and lovingly describes him as both “neat” and “quirky.” Staring at this image, it’s incomprehensible Elliot is gone.

              Elliot loved to run. He did well at school and was elected as school captain. He was popular and had piles of mates.

              Perhaps most of all, Elliot loved music. He taught himself to play guitar.

              “He was still walking around the house playing his guitar and singing the night before he died,” Lisa says, “so I can’t say that he was depressed.”
              Unbeknown to his parents, Elliot hadn’t done well in the practice exams earlier in the year. This only seems significant in hindsight because, unlike the rest of the family, Elliot “was a perfectionist.”
              ………
              Clues all through there for me that he had the potential for a depressive illness and possibly was already suffering from it, & didn’t talk about it. The thing is, he had never had a diagnosis, he gave no outward sign anything was wrong, so I’m open to the possibility that that study is drawing the wrong conclusions. And that the triggers go off in a lot of kids’ heads some time before the stressful event that gets blamed for their suicide. Why would you want to talk about being obsessive & other maybe other odd little things that you have going on, when everybody thinks you’re brilliant, and then have your friends think, ‘shit mate, you’re “mental”‘, and start avoiding you?

            • Alan Wilkinson

               /  July 6, 2017

              Actually there is a clue for me just in the photo. There is a lot of sensitivity in that face.

              Yes, it’s not something you want to share with your peers at that age. Too dangerous. It needs to be a trusted adult in assured confidence.

              Could be a place for online self-diagnostic screening and directed confidential help?

            • Gezza

               /  July 6, 2017

              “Could be a place for online self-diagnostic screening and directed confidential help?”

              That’s a very, very good idea. I wonder if anything like that already exists. You still have the issue that the kid may not realise they have a problem that might suddenly overwhelm them, so might not be prompted to go looking for something like this. I wonder if mum ever praised her kid for being a perfectionist? The problem with being a perfectionist is nothing is ever perfect. It’s one clue.

            • Alan Wilkinson

               /  July 6, 2017

              Yes, I think my friend’s brother who suicided could well have been a similar perfectionist & marginal Asbergers.

              There would have to be publicity and encouragement to use such a website system together with opportunity to do it in safe privacy. It could be supported with something similar for parents to do a safety check that they weren’t missing any warning signs.

  5. beavoicefororphans

     /  July 15, 2017

    It is good to bring this to the forefront! Praying for the Maori. I am available to listen to anyone struggling with thoughts of suicide… Just write me!!
    https://suicidenotmyheart.wordpress.com

    Reply
  1. Opening up on suicide — Your NZ – NZ Conservative Coalition

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