Long established youth organisation, Youthline is working alongside the Counties Manukau District Health Board and other service providers to address concerns over an increasing number of youth suicides in the Counties Manukau region.
In 2010 there were 30 confirmed Pacific deaths by suicide for the total NZ population.
Between April 2011 and November 2011, there have been 14 suspected deaths by suicide in the Counties Manukau district alone, most of which were aged 24 or younger.
Youthline Clinical Services Manager, Glenda Schnell says it’s the responsibility of the entire community to support young people.
“We urge everyone who has contact with young people to be aware of warning signs and speak up if you are concerned for somebody’s wellbeing.
Christmas can be a particularly vulnerable time - with school being out, a young person’s support network is often not as strong, so it’s about communicating with them and just checking that they’re ok.”
Over the coming months, Youthline will be working to ensure relevant resources and information is available, particularly to the Pacific community, where the suicides have been most prevalent.
Another area of work will be around removing the stigma and shame attached to asking for help.
“It’s about educating people and equipping them with the skills to understand the issues young people face and how to ensure they get the help and support they need.”
Alongside these efforts Youthline is also looking into ways of reaching young people via social media. Facebook recently launched a suicide prevention initiative in America, where users who expressed suicidal thoughts are given the option to connect directly with a crisis counsellor via Facebook chat.
“It makes good sense for us to be on the social media platform in a clinical capacity – exactly what this looks like is hard to say, it’s all new ground for us to tread over.”
If you are concerned about a young person please put them in touch with Youthline via any of the following:
Free phone: 0800 37 66 33
Free TXT: 234
For more information please contact Glenda Schnell: