Topics: Education, Health, Indigenous

Youth worker encourages more talk around suicide

By Mere McLean
  • Waikato/Bay of Plenty

In light of World Suicide Day next week, a Tauranga youth worker is encouraging more conversation around the taboo topic.

Jana Chase a suicide prevention advocate says she is seeing a change in her community, just by talking.

“Whoever comes today is letting everybody know that they are here to talk to them if they need a bit of a hand or if they are feeling low they can talk, it's all talking and opening up”.

Chase prefers tackling this issue head-on by talking. She says, many youth show a willingness to talk but fear the stigma, so is encouraging communities to change that.

“The change in the community and that people are OK about talking about it, they don't have that whakamā feeling”.

A recent annual provisional suicide statistics show that 142 Māori committed suicide, the highest since 2007.

Dion Wairepo of Ngāti Maniapoto says, “It's OK to talk about suicide as it wasn't back in the day we are all sad about and we so want to push for getting better at helping each other”.

Tomorrow marks World Suicide Prevention Day this year's theme is based around working together to prevent suicide.