New Zealand's stubbornly high suicide rate shows it is time
for a serious rethink, Royal Australian and New Zealand
College of Psychiatrists Community Member Graham Roper says.
Chief Coroner Judge Neil MacLean this week released
provisional suicide figures for 2012-13. Of 541 nationwide,
48 were in Otago and Southland, compared with 42 the year
Mr Roper, who is standing for the Southern District Health
Board in October's election, said not talking about the
problem had not worked.
He was critical of the advertisements depicting rugby great
Sir John Kirwan, saying many people could not relate to a
celebrity with mental health problems. He believed answers
lay in family, colleagues, and friends: encouraging people to
speak up to those around them.
Mr Roper was not in favour of more research; advocating a
strategy rethink and prompt action.
Suicide should be seen predominantly as a social problem
rather than a medical one, although appropriate treatment
services needed to be readily available.
He believed the state of the economy played a part in people
deciding to take their lives.
In a prepared statement, Southern District Health Board
medical officer of health Marion Poore said suicide was
extremely complex and many factors contributed.
''It is important that, as a community, we talk about the
impact suicide has, the issues involved and what can be done
when we work together to reduce suicide - while we still have
significant work to do and numbers from year to year
fluctuate, these efforts have resulted in a general trend of
reducing suicide in our district over the last few years.''
Over the past six years, suicides in the South were highest
in 2009-10, when 60 were recorded.
Where to get help
- Suicide Crisis Helpline: 0508-828-865
- Lifeline: 0800-543-354
- Depression Helpline (8am-midnight): 0800-111-757
- Healthline: 0800-611-116
- Samaritans: 0800-211-211
- Youthline: 0800-376-633, free text 234 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
- Kidsline (aimed at children up to 14; 4pm-6pm weekdays):
Helplines 24/7 unless otherwise stated.