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NZME Breaks The Silence

Media Release for Immediate Release – Tuesday 4 July 2017

NZME Breaks The Silence

Tuesday, 4 July 2017 – A young person in New Zealand kills themselves - on average - every 67 hours. Our teen suicide rate is the worst in the developed world, so high it raises the global average. The annual number of deaths has remained largely unchanged for almost two decades.

In a major investigative series, NZME Planning Editor Chris Reed says the New Zealand Herald, supported by owner NZME's full stable of radio brands, will shine a light on a subject many people find too tough to talk about.

“Break The Silence aims to encourage troubled young people to talk about their situation; to ask for help; to know there's hope. And while there's no denying the effort that has gone into reducing the suicide rate, the series also aims to start a national conversation about our handling of the issue. Are we doing the right things? Could we be doing more?”

Throughout, the NZ Herald will be encouraging readers to donate to a variety of services that provide vital helplines. The series has been six months in the planning and involved painstaking research and scores of interviews. A questionnaire was sent to each of New Zealand's more than 500 secondary schools.

The results will be rolled out over several weeks and include a string of major multimedia investigations. The first, published today (Tuesday, July 4) focuses on an unprecedented suicide cluster at a school, the impact on the community, how the authorities responded and the positive initiative that resulted

“Throughout the series, we'll be outlining solutions - the great work being done already and new ideas. We'll also be looking at efforts to keep youth suicide rates down overseas. We'll talk to people on the frontline - teachers, counsellors, community leaders and politicians. We'll hear from the families of those who have died - and the motivational stories of hope from people who attempted suicide and are subsequently living rich, fulfilling lives.”

Reed acknowledges this is a controversial subject.

“In fact, some people believe it's one that should be out of the public eye. However, we believe New Zealand is mature enough to consider our record in this area. We believe this is something people should think about because the death rate is not showing any signs of improving.

"Our coverage will be thorough and sensitive. We do not profess to be experts in this field, but we have spoken to many, many people who are. Their views may reinforce readers' opinions or change their minds."

There will be widespread support from NZME's radio brands, with a flagship component a special edition of ZM's Sealed Section show on Sunday, July 16.

Break The Silence begins today, Tuesday, July 4 and continues throughout July.

The first presentation is called What Becomes of the Broken-Hearted. Each piece from the series will link to an explainer that sets out the reasons for the series.

Stories will be collected at

Where to get help:

If you are worried about your or someone else's mental health, the best place to get help is your GP or local mental health provider. However, if you or someone else is in danger or endangering others, call police immediately on 111.

Or if you need to talk to someone else:

LIFELINE: 0800 543 354 (available 24/7)

• SUICIDE CRISIS HELPLINE: 0508 828 865 (0508 TAUTOKO) (available 24/7)

YOUTHLINE: 0800 376 633

KIDSLINE: 0800 543 754 (available 24/7)

WHATSUP: 0800 942 8787 (1pm to 11pm)

• DEPRESSION HELPLINE: 0800 111 757 (available 24/7)

• SAMARITANS: 0800 726 666


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