Booth's fight to get better mental health services not over yet

Geoff Booth may have not made it onto the CDHB but he is not giving up on raising mental health...
Geoff Booth may have not made it onto the CDHB but he is not giving up on raising mental health awareness. Photo: Martin Hunter
Geoff Booth has been unsuccessful in his bid for a spot on the Canterbury District Health Board.

But his fight to get better mental health services in the city is not over yet.

Mr Booth is now planning to create a national political party to advocate for families who have lost loved ones to suicides.

For nearly two years Mr Booth, of Greendale, has been battling to seek answers from health authorities after losing his 21-year-old son Liam to suspected suicide in 2017.

He decided to run for the CDHB in a bid to focus on mental health and raise awareness on suicide.

Mr Booth said the political party would be made up of families affected by suicide.

Over the next couple of months, Mr Booth will be looking at a strategy, multi-media platforms to launch the party on and securing financial backing.

Mr Booth said if he can get the political party “off the ground” he believes he will have a good chance at running at the next CDHB elections.

Mr Booth said he felt the reason he wasn’t elected was due to not having a large enough profile – compared to well-known elected members Jo Kane and James Gough.

“It was a tough ask but it was worth trying to see whether I could get in. I am certainly keen to have another try,” he said.

He said this term the CDHB needs to get more services and facilities in place so people can get the wrap-around services they need.

“The time for talk is over, they need to put boots on the ground.”

It was reported in August the number of suicides in New Zealand has reached its highest-ever level, with 685 people dying in the year to June 30.

The statistics released by Chief Coroner Judge Deborah Marshall showed an increase in the number of young people dying – especially those aged 15 to 19-years-old as numbers rose from 53 to 73.

Where to get help:

If you are worried about your own or someone else’s mental health, visit your GP or local mental health provider. However, if you or someone else is in danger or endangering others, phone police immediately on 111. Or if you need someone to talk to phone:

•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)


By Devon Bolger and Georgia O'Connor-Harding







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