Don’t be a bystander

Suicide FiguresThe provisional suicide figures for the 2016-2017 period released yesterday show that what we’re doing as a nation to prevent suicide is not working, according to Lifeline Executive Director, Glenda Schnell. “Despite having many great programmes aimed at reducing suicide in place, New Zealand finds itself having increased suicide figures again. These numbers are devastating and with stretched mental health resources across the country, we need to pull together. We have to do better for people who are struggling and in distress.

It is well known that feeling socially isolated and a burden to others can lead some people to thoughts of suicide. This highlights the importance of creating communities where people feel connected and valued. Schnell urges people to take the time to talk and really listen without judgement, and don’t be afraid to ask the question – “are you thinking about suicide?” “People might be afraid to ask about suicide as they believe that it can put the idea in to people’s heads. This simply isn’t true. It’s a complex issue, and it’s important to not be a bystander if you see someone struggling,” says Schnell.

“Times are hard for a large number of people and those who are struggling are having trouble accessing the help they need. We want Kiwis to know that those who call Lifeline can trust that their concerns, heartache or troubles will not be judged, that they will be heard and can find hope.”

A suicide survivor recently wrote to Lifeline saying, “It was the Suicide Crisis Helpline that I turned to when I was unsure how to stop myself taking a suicide attempt further. Had I not known about this line and how good it is, I would not be writing this today.”

Anyone who thinks they, or someone they know may be thinking about suicide or anyone struggling to deal with the loss of a loved one through suicide can call Lifeline’s Suicide Crisis Helpline on 0508 TAUTOKO (0508 828 865) to speak to a qualified and trained counsellor for support.

About Lifeline Aotearoa

Lifeline Aotearoa has been helping New Zealanders in crisis for over 50 years and over the last 12 months has received over 126,000 calls. It’s free community helplines (0800 LIFELINE, Suicide Crisis Helpline, 0800 KIDSLINE) are answered by trained volunteers and qualified paid staff from call centres in Auckland and Christchurch. Lifeline Aotearoa receives no government funding for these helplines so is reliant on public support to be able to answer calls.

Lifeline is committed to providing services that meet international best practice standards for suicide intervention and prevention which includes follow-up care for people who have presented with suicide risk and strengthening relationships with other providers to enhance ongoing support.