October 21, 2016
Society response on suicide needed
A leading Maori anti-suicide campaigner says there need to be more empathy and understanding of mental health across the whole of society if the suicide rate is to come down.
Provisional figures for the past year show 579 people took their own lives, including 129 Maori.
Mike King says the government's response is to throw more money at agencies which have proved themselves ineffective at getting results.
He says one in five people will have a major depressive episode in their lives, including suicidal thoughts, but only 20 percent will ask for help.
That's because of the way they feel they will be judged by society.
"If people are constantly being put down and labelled names like drama queen, attention seeker, cowards, it's words like that that encourage people to hold on to their problems and try and battle through them by themselves. Depression, anxiety and even suicidal thinking won't kill you. Holding onto that stuff and trying to battle through it by yourself is the problem," he says.
Mike King says Health Minister Jonathan Coleman because he has failed at his job.
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