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CASPER Claims Credit for Decrease in Youth, Maori Suicides

CASPER Claims Credit for Decrease in Youth and Maori Suicides

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26 August 2013 - CASPER’s tireless focus on providing families and communities with the knowledge and tools to prevent suicide has resulted in a drop in suicides for youth and Maori In figures released by the Chief Coroner today.

CASPER, a charity representing families who have lost loved ones to suicide, rejects the government’s notion that talking about suicide is dangerous. Joint founder and CEO Maria Bradshaw says they have spent the past three years running community education programmes. “We’ve been talking about suicide in the media and on social networks and sharing what bereaved families know now that they wish they had known before their loved ones died. We must keep talking about suicide, it’s the only way forward.”

CASPER presents the evidence that suicide is a social, not medical issue and that social rather than medical prescribing is the appropriate response to suicide risk. Bradshaw points proudly to the fact that in their three years of working with the families of suicide attempters, the group has not had one client die by suicide.

“CASPER has a strong focus on providing information and support to youth and Maori and the families and communities who support them. CASPER’s evidence that the medical approach taken by mental health services in New Zealand has been shown in research studies to actually increase rather than decrease suicide rates has been taken on board by the community. Suicidal thinking and behavior are triggered by negative life events and CASPER’s social prescribing model addresses the cause of suicide and of the key trigger – a feeling that everyone you love would be better off without you. Keeping suicide a secret and drugging those who are distressed makes no sense. Tackling the causes of distress and creating environments in which people have hope works to ensure people choose life rather than death.”

Bradshaw says they are proud of the work they are doing because it is producing the only outcome that matters – a reduction in suicide deaths.

“We know the contribution we have made to this because every day we receive calls and messages from grateful families who tell us that we helped them understand what causes suicide and therefore how to prevent it. They tell us their child is alive because of the information and support we provided to them.”

CASPER’s annual suicide prevention conference to mark world suicide prevention day will be held at in Auckland on 10 September. The conference will provide those attending with practical action they can take to keep their families, friends, colleagues and clients safe from suicide. It has a particular focus on youth, Maori, women and rural people. Media are encouraged to attend. Details for the conference and online registration can be found on the CASPER website at


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