Wellington Scoop

Appeal for suicide prevention launched after record calls for help

News from Lifeline
Lifeline has released new data that reveals calls to Lifeline for suicide support nation-wide have increased from 48,186 to 159,616 over 12 months – a 230% increase. Wellington has seen an increase in calls from 23,056 to 24,116.

To try and combat this, 2,500 New Zealanders across 46 Snap Fitness clubs are this month fundraising via an 8 week challenge promoting mental and physical wellbeing. Lifeline hopes the initiative will help fund support in the Wellington region.

Lifeline Aotearoa Clinical Manager, Renee Mathews says while awareness is increasing around suicide prevention there are still many gaps in the system.

“We see people come through our helplines who need ongoing support and it’s just not available to them. They are not mentally ill, but they are starting to struggle and need help with how to cope.

“The conversation needs to turn towards suicide prevention awareness. We need to be having regular chats about what works in promoting mental health and preventing suicide and what role can each person in the community can play.

“We need more conversations about the topic of survival, hope and recovery from people who have survived a suicide attempt or are learning to live well with mental health related illness,” Ms Mathews said.

New Zealand has the second highest overall suicide rate in the developed world, with the provisional figure sadly reaching its highest point in history last year, with 606 people taking their life.

Victoria Kendall, a volunteer at New Zealand’s Lifeline call centre, knows the effect suicide can have on one’s self, but says one simple conversation has the power to change it all. “My dad took his life. After he died, I found out he didn’t have a strong personal support group around him to help him process and understand that it’s okay to not be okay.

“In today’s age, people feel a real pressure to present a certain image or act like everything in life is going great, when the truth is, life isn’t perfect for any of us all the time. We all have our challenges.

“Suicide is a complex issue, there isn’t a one size fits all approach. There is nothing to be scared of when asking someone if they’re considering suicide, it can really help open the door to an honest conversation,” Ms Kendall said.

Lifeline and SNAP Fitness aim to generate $250,000 in donations. To show your support and donate to suicide prevention visit 8weekchallenge.co.nz. Lifeline provides 24/7 support to people are overwhelmed or thinking about suicide. To get in touch today call 0800 LIFELINE (543 354) or free text HELP (4357)