Whānau in Gisborne are mourning the loss of two young Māori to suspected suicide at the weekend. This follows calls in the community for more tools to build suicide awareness to prevent these devastating outcomes.
Mayor Meng Foon says the community is reeling with the loss of two lives at the weekend.
"It's a sad time and it definitely comes as a shock, one woman was my close friend."
The total number of deaths in Tairāwhiti of people suspected of suicide since January is four, including the two this weekend. Of the four one was under 25 and two had had contact with Hauora Tairāwhiti Mental Health Services but not in the past six years.
Māori Party co-leader Marama Fox says "In the past two years I have spoken many times with the community about this issue. Tuta Ngārimu has secured funding from Te Puni Kōkiri towards work in this area."
Foon says help is available in the community and he is available to talk to those in need. While he acknowledges this can sometimes be a difficult step, he urges people to seek help.
"Part of the problem is the family don't know about their struggle, so we're trying to build family awareness about these situations."
Last year there were eight deaths by suicide in Tairawhiti. The year prior there were 13.
If you or anyone you know are struggling, please reach out to the groups that are always there to help you;
24/7 FREE HELPLINES
Lifeline - 0800 543 354
Depression Helpline - 0800 111 757
Suicide Crisis Helpline - 0508 828 865 (0508 TAUTOKO)
Your local Rural Support Trust P - 0800 787 254 (0800 RURAL HELP)