Date: 28 February 2013
Waikato DHB Nurse Launches Youth Suicide Awareness Campaign
Appalled by New Zealand’s “tragically high” youth suicide rate, Waikato DHB registered nurse Kahui Neho is geared up to raise some decibels for a good cause.
Miss Neho, who has worked in the Henry Rongomau Bennett Centre for four years, has teamed with motorbike club the Super Maori Fullas to launch the Riders Against Teenage Suicide (RATS) Green Ribbon Ride campaign.
They will ride into Hopuhopu on Harley Davidsons alongside an estimated 50 plus others for a powhiri and family day on 23 March.
This will be the second of three campaign events; the first in Whangarei on 26 January and the last in Kawerau on the 6 April.
The aim is to promote Iwi organisations and service providers that relate to youth suicide. Te Puna Oranga, Waikato DHB’s Maori Health, will be among other organisations present at the Hopuhopu event.
“Youth suicide is a topic that our people have problems addressing. Our rangatahi are our future, and they need to know that there are people out there to help them when they are at their most vulnerable,” Miss Neho said.
“Our greatest desire is that this campaign will show youth and their families that there is support available.”
Miss Neho says Waikato DHB has been “nothing but supportive” of the cause.
“Te Puna Oranga, my managers, and my colleagues have guided me when preparing for the events gets overwhelming. The help of a big organisation like the DHB means a lot to a little Northland-born person like me. It provides belief and enhances the campaign.”
The Super Maori Fullas launched the White Ribbon Ride ‘Men against violence’ campaign in November 2009. They agreed to front the Green Ribbon Ride campaign when the White Ribbon Ride campaign ended in November 2012.
“We’re losing too many of our young people. We’re losing generations. If we aren’t proactive as adults, as mums and dads, we’re not going to have the John Keys and the Hone Harawiras left,” Super Maori Fullas founding member Mahu Rawiri said.
Last year the number of suicides in New Zealand stood at 547 according to suicide statistics for the year ending 30 June 2012.
“We might not save everyone, but if we can save one person that’s better than none. It’s about standing up for what you believe in,” Mr Rawiri said.
“It’s about letting people know who’s out there. We want as many people to support the kaupapa, put up gazebos and hand out information so that our whanau and rangatahi know the support services available.”