Nick Chamberlain, Northland District Health Board chief executive.

Whangarei agencies are working with schools and families after suspected suicides by two teenagers.

Families, schools and the wider communities have been devastated by the sudden deaths of a 13-year-old boy and 15-year-old girl from Whangarei, and a 22-year old Northland man.

Northland District Health Board said its multi-agency forum, Fusion, is providing expert daily oversight and co-ordinating the board’s response to a perceived spike in local cases.

Since January this year, there have been six suspected youth (under 24 years old) suicides in Northland.

This bucks the downward trend the region has experienced since its worst year on record, 2012/13, when there were 19 youths among the 29 suicides in Northland.

Professionals are working with young people at risk as well as providing leadership and advice across the sector.

“We remain committed to zero youth suicide,” health board chief executive Nick Chamberlain said.

Suicides were preventable, and communities played a critical role in their prevention, he said.

“It’s important that we know who might be vulnerable and need extra support, and what warning signs to look out for and what to do when we spot them.”

He said someone may be at higher risk if they have previously attempted suicide, had a mental illness, lost someone to suicide, been a victim of abuse, felt no connection to whanau or community, had no sense of identity or had been through a major life change.

A Ministry of Education spokesman said the Ministry had trauma response teams available in all main centres to help schools at such times.

“The role of the Traumatic Incident team is to provide direct support to the principal as and when needed.

“That can take a number of different forms, from assisting a school to access support services, to helping staff with what to say to pupils, families and caregivers.”

Community help includes people worried about a person they know or who needs to talk with someone being able to call or text 1737, free, from any landline or mobile phone, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

They can also support that person to access professional help by making an emergency appointment with a GP or local mental health services.

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
• 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​​

Source: Northern Advocate

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