I am pleased to see the grass roots movements beginning to highlight and combat suicide in the rural community.

The recent launch of “Will to Live” at the Hunterville Huntaway Festival looks to be a remarkable approach when it comes to mental health.

It comes on the back of record suicide numbers for our country.

The NZ Herald reported in August that the country’s annual provisional suicide numbers were the highest since records began, rising for the fourth consecutive year to a record 668 deaths – with male Māori disproportionately represented, making up 97 of the 668 deaths in the 2017/18 year.

We need more funding put into counselling facilities and research. We need consistency in having mental health facilities kept afloat.

We also need the wider community to be aware and personally resourced to be effective first responders when they become aware of someone who could be depressed, anxious or stressed.

Following high profile suicides in the community you can’t help but hear people saying that if people are in trouble they should ask for help – well that’s all very good, but when someone is not in a good space they might not feel able to ask – it’s up to the rest of us to take some ownership of the issue with those affected.

You can’t expect someone who feels all the emotions that comes with depression or any other mental health issue to be their own heroes in their moments of hell – we all need to step up and play our part.

If we haven’t seen or heard from someone we need to pick up the phone and see how they’re going. We need to make time to see each other.

With the horrific numbers we are being advised of, there will be even more comment about mental wellbeing and the part we can all play. Health authorities and other organisations are currently, (or are preparing to), run workshops/seminars on this very issue.

We all need to access one of these so that one day we may be adequately prepared to make a difference in someone’s life.

Where to get help:
Rural Support Trust: 0800 787 254
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)

If it is an emergency and you feel like you or someone else is at risk, call 111.

Source: The Country


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