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Light a Candle for Suicide Prevention

Media Release

Light a Candle for Suicide Prevention

(Wellington), 9th September 2014 - Samaritans is urging New Zealanders to light a candle in their window for World Suicide Prevention Day at 8pm on the 10th of September to show support for those affected by suicide.

According to provisional figures released by the Chief Coroner in August this year, the suicide rate in New Zealand remains stubbornly high and disappointingly consistent.

Carolyn O’Fallon, a Samaritans Board Member said: “Suicide is a leading cause of death for New Zealanders and, as a community, we need to work together to support at risk individuals who may be contemplating this tragic act."

“We can do this by promoting discussion, awareness and, most importantly, reaching out to friends and family who may be in need, all goals that World Suicide Prevention Day aims to promote."

The New Zealand Samaritans is a non-religious, confidential listening and support telephone service operating 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to assist New Zealanders in need.

Carolyn O’Fallon continues: “Our volunteers are exposed on a daily basis to those who are suffering the effects of depression, loneliness and may possibly be contemplating suicide."

“Social connectedness is a factor in preventing suicide, and is something that Samaritans have been creating in New Zealand for nearly 50 years through our telephone listening and support service.

“Social connectedness is an ideal that may be increasingly distant for many young New Zealanders who find themselves disconnected from their peers as technology and social media come to dominate their daily lives."

Samaritans handle up to 20,000 calls annually from people in the Lower North and South Islands, without any central or local government funding.

Carolyn O’Fallon comments “A telephone listening service is just one aspect of a functioning community which is able to identify and assist those who may be contemplating suicide."

“Another essential, but often overlooked, aspect is being there for our friends, family and colleagues. An offer to talk with someone could be the step that saves their life.

“I urge all New Zealanders to participate in World Suicide Prevention Day by lighting a candle at 8pm on September the 10th to show support for people in their community affected by suicide."


Samaritan’s offers sympathetic, caring and confidential support to people from all walks of life from callers who often experience mental health issues such as depression including suicidality, as well as loneliness, drug and alcohol abuse and bereavement. There are no limits to why someone calls Samaritans and no limits to what Samaritans will listen to.

For a listening and caring ear, ring 0800 726 666 or (in Wellington) 04 473 9739.

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