It's time to be proactive about preventing suicide

Media Release: 7th October 2015

Samaritans urge New Zealanders to be proactive about preventing suicide after provisional suicide statistics released yesterday confirm 564 lives were lost by suicide in 2014/15.

The statistics released by Chief Coroner Judge Deborah Marshal are the highest ever recorded in New Zealand, with an increase of 35 more deaths by suicide this year.  

During September this year 3.9% of callers to Wellington Samaritans were suicidal at time of the call.

Bernardine Reid, Chair of the Samaritans Operations Committee, says “much like the tragic rising suicide toll in New Zealand, Samaritans have noticed a significant increase in callers who are experiencing suicidal thoughts at the time of their call”

“3.9% is a notable increase in the proportion of callers feeling suicidal at the time of the call, as the figure for all of 2014 was 2.07%” says Mrs Reid.

“We believe it’s important for people to be able to talk about these feelings.  Rather than suffering alone, Samaritans want people to talk to us about their suicidal feelings without fear of prejudice or rejection”

In response to New Zealand’s rising suicide toll, Samaritans have recently extended their 0800 number nationwide, meaning their listening and support telephone service can be accessed throughout NZ for free – 24/7.

Samaritans of Wellington Board Chair Cheryl Crooks says “Suicide is a leading cause of death for New Zealanders and we need to work together to support at risk individuals who may be contemplating this tragic act.”

“This week during Mental Health Awareness Week we all need to work as a community and start the conversation about mental health and suicide prevention”

The theme for Mental Health Awareness Week 2015 is Give: your time, your words and your presence.

“Our Samaritans know the value of giving someone a listening ear in their time of need. Be there for your friends and whanau this Mental Health Awareness Week and be proactive about combating suicide in NZ”.

ENDS

For more information contact:

Isabelle Grundy | Marketing and Communications Advisor | Samaritans of Wellington

Phone: 04 472 3676.  Email:  marketing@samaritans.org.nz

Note for media - when reporting on this story, please include our telephone crisis line information:

Samaritans NZ – 24/7 listening and support telephone service: 0800 726 666.