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Suicide in New Zealand

DU
[deactivated account] Public Seen by 651

This country has second highest rate of youth suicide in the OECD and young, Maori men continue to be disproportionately represented in statistics.

This has to change. Would policies work? Is it our culture? Nearly twice as many people died from suicide last year than died in the national road toll. We need to start talking about why so many among us take their lives and what we can do to help them live.

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/oct/19/we-have-to-start-talking-about-it-new-zealand-suicide-rates-hit-record-high

DU

[deactivated account] Sat 24 Oct 2015

A forum thread has been created on the main site here.

And I suppose I get to start......

I have never really thought about suicide, although maybe I have blanked it out of my mind. I have the occasional fantasy about dying and everybody being sorry but that seems fairly normal according to the people I have talked to about it.

I have had a friend commit suicide though. He was a schizophrenic, which was accentuated through drug use, a wonderful guitarist and person, and he threw himself off a waterfall.

I don't know what would have changed that. A lot of us could have been better friends. He had been receiving treatment for years. He just wanted his head to stop.

DU

[deactivated account] Sat 24 Oct 2015

Round up of ideas from the Facebook thread
Make them know life is worth living by giving them hope.
A job with a living wage for a start.
Educate people/family/whanau to look for signs thats somethings not right.
Why are so many looking to suicide before help?
Everyone needs to be positive!
Coroners inquest on every suicide.
When people ask for help, help them (don't fob them off into the system)
Some people find this handy when they are depressed.
Adversarial environment that is allowed to breed winners and consequently 'losers'.
Decent facilities and staff trained more specialised in mental health areas.
More support for over 24's.
More free counselling (six sessions isn't enough).
Compulsory counselling in schools.
Counselling for people involved in life changing situations (eg; accidents, operations)
More holistic treatments.
Psychiatric hospitals for bad case mental illnesses.
Insanitariums for criminally insane.
Halfway houses for mentally ill that they can check themselves in and out of.
Help those that are really on the edge be safe and secure and getting the help they need.

DU

[deactivated account] Sat 24 Oct 2015

@blairrobson1 Was it you who was saying he had to deal with suicide a lot in your work?

DU

[deactivated account] Sat 24 Oct 2015

OK, here is the final list from last nights Facebook feed roughly sorted into categories.

A present and a future.
-Make them know life is worth living by giving them hope.
-A job with a living wage for a start.
-Everyone needs to be positive!
-Not sending people into crippling debt just trying to pay for a university degree would be a good step.
-Good supply of jobs.
-Reducing poverty rates.

Education and research
-Educate people/family/whanau to look for signs thats somethings not right.
-Why are so many looking to suicide before help?
-Some people find this handy when they are depressed.(https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B6A2F5ky9SELU0Zfd05YMEpyNUk/view?pli=1)
-Zero suicides is a global movement aimed at health care providers.http://zerosuicide.sprc.org/
-Lifeline Aotearoa run the ASIST programme in NZ.
-Teaching parents and other family members on what danger signs to look for.
-How can we even begin to build stronger communities, when every attempt to adress serious issues. and sometimes negligent actions that has led to a loved ones death is CONCEALED?
-Why don't these so called decision makers speak to those of us with mental health?
-Government doesn't know what it is doing with suicide.

Departmental improvements
-Coroners inquest on every suicide.
-When people ask for help, help them (don’t fob them off into the system)
-Decent facilities and staff trained more specialised in mental health areas.
-More support for over 24’s.
-More free counselling (six sessions isn’t enough).
-Compulsory counselling in schools.
-Counselling for people involved in life changing situations (eg; accidents, operations)
-More holistic treatments.
-Psychiatric hospitals for bad case mental illnesses.
-Insanitariums for the criminally insane.
-Halfway houses for mentally ill that they can check themselves in and out of.
-Help those that are really on the edge be safe and secure and getting the help they need.
-An adequate and available mental health care system.
-Improved services.
-Medication also plays an important part.

Social change
-Adversarial environment that is allowed to breed winners and consequently ‘losers’.
-The pace of today's living is challenging.
-Sometimes people are to busy to notice changes of people who are close to them.
-Being isolated and having no one to turn too can impact greatly.
-It is anti-community social policies that are causing serious harm to the mental health of the nation.
-New Zealanders like to see themselves as (PM's favourite word) relaxed and down to earth but I think there is something very fake about our culture.
-The truth comes out after a few drinks - aggression, ugliness.
-There is a dishonesty and an unwillingness to face up to the reality that maybe this isn't such a great place.
-An inability to open up and express ourselves, an inability to articulate feelings and a dislike of serious conversation about ideas.

CE

Colin England Sat 24 Oct 2015

Make them know life is worth living by giving them hope.

And how would you do that?

Everyone needs to be positive!

Someone needs to watch Inside Out.

Why are so many looking to suicide before help?

Chances are that they were looking for help before suicide but the help wasn't forthcoming. This could be because the people approached for help didn't realise that help was needed, told the person that there was nothing wrong, or, at the worst, told them to suck it up.

NC

Nobilangelo Ceramalus Sun 25 Oct 2015

Years ago I worked with a man, an atheist or agnostic, who would often dismiss something as a 'synthetic religion' a 'substitute religion.' The notion that politics and policies, education and help-books, etc., etc., can be a cure-all for life's problems is exactly that; synthetic religion, substitute religion, false religion. Lady Astor put it neatly; she called it 'building the Kingdom of God without prayer.' Certainly we can do things better or worse; certainly we can care for our neighbours and show our care in word and in deed, certainly we can have good or bad government, certainly we can have good or bad education, certainly we can have the courage and the humility to recognise and strive to eliminate the fundamental psychological causes of self-murder (which is at base what 'suicide' means), but we cannot heal the immortal wounds in the soul caused by untoward choices, by falsehoods, by the ways of darkness and the love of them, and all their compounding effects. Those must be committed to God, who alone can heal, who alone can turn the darkness of the spirit to the light given in his Son. Politics is servant, never master or ruler.

FL

Fred Look Mon 26 Oct 2015

This is a complex issue. On one hand many of the drivers of suicide are external. Pressures to earn, perform, or in many cases it is people who are smart enough to realise society is borked and there really is no way forward. So there has to be a long term plan to fix society and make it so there is actually some hope for the future. But at the same time we have to address personally those who have lost hope here and now. But in so doing we must not be just papering over the cracks so society can continue its merry way to hell in a basket. This actually seems like the sort of problem that the internet party may find a way forward where others are failing. I hope so and will try to make it so anyway

DU

[deactivated account] Sat 31 Oct 2015

I beleive that something at the level of grassroots initiated and sustained community building endeavours and social action could do a lot to build a stronger sense of being valued, worthwhile and meaningful part of a healthy, loving & transformative community - thereby creating societal conditions that would hopefully be conducive to mitigating the conditions that are associated with higher suicide risk. We could look to various examples of leadership around the world in this area of development for inspiration as to how we could develop our own local transformative community building programmes.
Off the top of my head for example, we could learn from:
- The revolutionary democratic experiment of the Rojava Kurds in Syria.
- The community building programmes being developed in Bahá’í communities around the world.

There are probably many more examples to which we could look to for leadership and learning. I hazard a guess that all viable examples would typically be associated with anticapitalist ideals.

DU

[deactivated account] Sat 31 Oct 2015

Various social enterprises, for example our local Enspiral and the organisational culture it espouses and is developing, are also important for transforming social and economic societal conditions - contributing to mitigating the suicide risk factor.

Interesting how ICT enterprises can also be seen as an becoming an important player in contributing to social health.

All of these sorts of programmes - Rojava, Enspiral, Bahá'í, others - could inspire and support community development activity in each and all of our localities to bring about healthier, happier, and more liberated peoples.

TH

Tane Harre Tue 29 Aug 2017

This is a complex issue, yet no party seems to be facing it head on. More than 600 people took their lives in this country over the last year. Isn't it time we did something about it?

BC

ben cooney Fri 1 Sep 2017

It certainly is.... Its a sad sad inditement on our society... We have so many hidden presssures and issues to contend with from an early age.. As i raise my son i get reminded of them all over and over....

JB

Jo Booth Mon 11 Sep 2017

I saw with interest the recent National MP getting lambasted for daring to compare youth suicide with euthanasia. Interesting because I too see little difference between losing the will to carry on the struggle as a young person or loosing the will to fight another day of terminal illness. It seems to me to be the same issue. Thoughts?

BC

ben cooney Mon 11 Sep 2017

I think its poles apart euthnasia is a tricky issue. But what it isnt and wont protect is someone with a mental illness life issues etc going "ok im going to kill my self and now that there is a law saying i csn die i will" " stardudst aka jacinda was quite clear on her position to which i agree. Euthnasia will be reserved for people with terminsl illnesses. Facilitated byvtwi doctors who will signsed death off... Suicide. Has its roots in many many areas. And is not comparable imo

JB

Jo Booth Mon 11 Sep 2017

Either way results in one less human alive - by someone's hands - is there the suicide equivalent of palliative care? If a doctor could review a suicidal patient and agree they were justified in ending their life - would that make it any better?

BC

ben cooney Mon 11 Sep 2017

I hear what you are saying. I dint think there will or. Or at least i hope there won't be a time that suicide is ok via paletive care. I think all though there are mega lapses and gaping holes in the mental hwsltg system that defiantly need to be fixed. There are also checks and balances for an individual who may be heading towards that end point.. With terminally ill people in hospise ib their last moments in life who are ib constant pain..they could gave the option if dignity.. Imagine your mum or dad in that scenario... Would u want to see them wasting away and suffering... Ugh its a tricky q

CE

Colin England Mon 11 Sep 2017

Interesting because I too see little difference between losing the will to carry on the struggle as a young person or loosing the will to fight another day of terminal illness.

There's a huge difference.

  1. The young have a future - the elderly dying in pain don't.
  2. The young are generally healthy while the elderly is dying of old age.
  3. The young needs support to get over that which they see as an impassable object (It's psychological) while no amount of support will change the outcome for someone already dying of old age.

If a doctor could review a suicidal patient and agree they were justified in ending their life - would that make it any better?

That hasn't even been suggested. It's for people who are already dying and there's nothing that can be done for them.

JB

Jo Booth Wed 13 Sep 2017

I still don't see it. How can you find a solution to the youth case that isn't the same for the elderly case?

You might be facing a seemingly insurmountable obstacle (impending death / no reason to go on) but why can't we give the elderly support to get over the fact they're dying? If we can give it to the youth, how much more so would it work for someone who has seen all the life has thrown at them and given it one more day to date.

I'm assuming here that the elderly person is capable of making a decision.

Don't get me wrong here, as @suziedawson can attest, I tend to take a counter stance to explore the thinking, often to find a coherent rationale to to explain an idea to myself. I just don't get why we're killing off the old people. Aren't they already dying?

JB

Jo Booth Wed 13 Sep 2017

Yeah, I get that you wouldn't want to see a loved one suffer, but who am I to determine how much suffering a person can endure. For every person who has a limit, there's always someone who survived worse - so while euthanasia might be a solution, I don't like the idea of imposing my will over someone else, and for the self determination case (suicide) well we reckon we can talk people out of it... so same diff, right?